The Los Angeles Lakers realize the Portland Trail Blazers are not your typical eight-seed.
Damian Lillard scored 34 points and the Portland Trail Blazers stunned the Los Angeles Lakers, 100-93, on Tuesday at Walt Disney World in the NBA Bubble.
Portland may have made the postseason with a losing record, but they were riddled with injuries to start the season. Thanks to the five-month postponement of the NBA season, the Blazers are now fully healthy, and are arguably the best team still remaining in the bubble.
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The Lakers entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and the betting favorites to win the NBA title, but that didn't stop Lillard and the Trail Blazers from shocking the Lakers in Game 1.
C.J. McCollum had 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic, who had not played prior to the NBA restart in the bubble, finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Portland started hot, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead as the Lakers went down double-digits in the first quarter thanks to some cold-shooting and sloppy turnovers. The Lakers were 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in the first quarter.
"We had some great looks. We just didn't knock them down," said James matter of factly.
The Lakers rallied in the second quarter, going on a 13-1 to get back into the game. They grabbed their first lead of the game, 50-49, with 2:53 remaining in the first half.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the second half, but the Blazers had an answer for every Lakers run, and closed the game out they way they started: hot from three-point range.
Portland finished 13-for-34 from beyond the arc, eight more threes than the Lakers who were a paltry, 5-for-32, just 15 percent from three.
"We have to execute and make shots down the stretch," said Lakers' head coach Frank Vogel. " We didn't have a great shot selection. We knew this team was going to challenge us. We'll get back to work tomorrow and be ready to go."
LeBron James finished with 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 15 assists. He became the first player in NBA Playoff history to score at least 25 points, grab at least 15 rebounds, and dish out 15 assists in a playoff game.
"He would have had over 20 assists if we could knock down threes at the rate we're accustomed to," said Vogel of James. "He was spectacular though."
Anthony Davis finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Kuzma scored 14 points off the bench. Danny Green was the only other Laker in double figures with 10 points.
"We just have to be able to take our time and knock down shots," said Davis about what the Lakers need to do differently in Game 2. "Both from the free-throw line and from three. We'll be fine."
Banana Boat friends LeBron and Carmelo Anthony have played against each other in high school, were both top five picks in the 2003 NBA Draft, but have only squared off against each other in the NBA Playoffs once prior.
Anthony and James took turns guarding each other to start the game, and Melo finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
Portland now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0. LeBron James has only lost the first game of a first-round playoff series one other time in his career.
"We came in with the mindset to win and we didn't take care of business," said James.