Lakers breathe: Blazers' fateful day with Lillard injury

Anthony Davis was tremendous and with his leadership the Lakers were a steamroller. Black night for the Blazers, where Lillard worries.

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A first game marked by surprise, by intensity and competitiveness, by some Trail Blazers that came rolling and on a roll at the end of the regular season and the play-in has given way to a lot. That is where they have been stranded, in an inhospitable place. They did not attend the game. Those of Stotts suffered from the first bars and ended up making up even a score that could be more punitive. The Lakers did the homework that Professor Vogel had sent home, improved on the outside shots - although they also made up the statistics when the game was already decided - and tied a 111-88 victory that tied them in the tie.

And let's see how the Blazers come out of the quagmire. Stotts and his experiments, first to defend Davis with Wenyen Gabriel, who accumulates more games in the G-League than in the NBA itself, and then to make Nurkic and Whiteside play at the same time as Zach Collins recovers from a injury, are a good example of the moment in which they are. They have gone from seeing the light to making them night. But perhaps the first game was more demerit for an opponent who, let's not forget, has dominated the Western Conference all season. They did not stand out in any of the aspects that have brought them here, not even Lillard and McCollum were able to show themselves on the outside in the decisive moments, because they were a shadow of themselves.

From the beginning, Anthony Davis was seen with another march, as if wanting to vindicate himself after some criticism received after the defeat two days before. He pounded with much more fury and insistently searched for pairings, getting the most out of them, he dared with triples, forced intelligent actions in defense, etc. Absolute dominance in both areas and for almost 30 minutes, which was on the court, and no one overshadowed him. He left with 31 points and 11 rebounds, the best of the night, and put his team on the map after the doubts generated.

He highlighted the low shot by Carmelo Anthony, who stayed at 1/6 in shots, but there are other negative aspects that are less surprising: the defense continues to be very improvable, especially if it is not only Davis but also McGee or Howard who make you a broken ; Hassan Whiteside's unconstructive input doesn't change over time; Gary Trent cannot have the day every day and among the benches he will need a little more from Mario Hezonja or Anfernee Simons, although the latter could progress in the rotation as he did earlier in the season.

The match ended in the third quarter. They surpassed the 30 advantage when entering the last period, which was almost completely of minutes of the garbage, and there it was not understood that LeBron James, already passed by the bench, would go back to the court. It was a few minutes, but enough for there to have been a scare like the one Damian Lillard hit. Precisely in those minutes, precisely sounding the alarm. The seeding games MVP injured the index finger of his left hand while trying to steal a ball from Davis and withdrew in pain. Later some tests were practiced and his finger is dislocated, although he will force himself to be in the third match of the series.

If we talk about the interiors of the Lakers, the exteriors also had their dose. The first little stretch came with two 3-pointers from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who also beat on defense. Alex Caruso and Danny Green were lost, but against JR Smith he was able to jump onto the court and enjoy the soft sound of the net when he hit a triple. LeBron James had a game to let go but without stopping: he finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Turn for, already in the weekend, the third round of this series. Now with bad thoughts on the other side. And with Lillard pushing (even harder) .



Photos from as.com
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