On Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers read lines from an altogether far too familiar script en route to a sixth straight defeat and 37th loss overall. This time, the Lakers failed to keep up with the Portland Trail Blazers, as "Rip City" tore the Lakers apart by a final count of 121-103.
Kobe Bryant bid farewell to Portland after the contest, but save for a few random outbursts of "Kobe" hymns chanted by the purple and gold faithful in the crowd, the Blazers did not offer any special ceremony of note. In truth, Bryant appeared to hear boos on his introduction and even showered in jeers upon his first touch of the basketball.
The crowd would seemingly warm up to Bryant as the game wore on, but Blazers point guard Damian Lillard started the game on fire. Lillard scored 14 points in the first quarter en route to 36 points and five assists on the night. Using Portland's tried and tested formula, Lillard had help from C.J. McCollum. The no. 10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft finished with 28 points, as Portland's backcourt duo led the game in scoring.
In terms of the flow of the game, the Blazers led by 15 points at the end of the first quarter after putting up 37 points in the first 12 minutes. The Lakers would cut that margin to single-digits in the second quarter but ultimately entered halftime trailing by 10 points.
In the third quarter, the Blazers stopped playing around and scored 39 points in the period. LIllard scored 18 points on his own in the quarter, as the Blazers' point guard put together yet another memorable performance against the struggling Lakers.
By the end of the third quarter, the Blazers already had passed 100 points and led LA by 25.
However, the Lakers would ride rookie D'Angelo Russell to a rally to start the fourth quarter. Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Lakers had cut the deficit to only 15 points. The Blazers had led by as many as 27 in the game. One minute and thirty seconds later, LA trailed by 19 points, and Lakers coach Byron Scott oddly decided to pull Russell. The rookie would finish with 21 points (team-high), three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in 22 minutes.
The Lakers never came close to threatening beyond that stage, as both teams emptied their benches.
Notes: The Lakers dropped to 9-37 and have now lost 10 of their last 11 games. Bryant finished with 10 points and five turnovers. The Blazers improved to 20-26.