Lakers finish off Blazers in efficient win as road trip looms – Daily News


LOS ANGELES — After their last loss, the Lakers knew better than to count wins before the clock ran out.

It took until there was just 2:22 remaining with a 16-point lead for Coach Darvin Ham to slowly begin subbing out his starters. This time, they had earned their rest.

LeBron James set the pace with 31 points, Anthony Davis helped close in a 27-point, 12-rebound effort, and the Lakers (8-12) finished off the visiting Portland Trail Blazers (11-11) in a 128-109 win despite being down two starters. It was the way they should have wrapped up a victory against Indiana two nights before.

It was the Lakers’ sixth win in eight games, and an important victory at home before heading out on the longest road trip of the season: a 12-day, six-game trek through the Midwest and East Coast that begins Friday against Eastern Conference titan Milwaukee.

“(We are) right where we need to be,” Davis said. “We let some slip away. But I think we’re clicking at the right time.”

If this is the form that the Lakers’ stars are in, it’s encouraging. James was 12 for 18 from the floor (6 for 8 from 3-point range) with eight assists and seven rebounds. Davis had his eighth straight double-double with 20 or more points, and had critical fourth-quarter baskets (5 for 7 shooting) after only taking two shots in that frame when they were squandering a 17-point lead on Monday. Davis had 14 points in the fourth after scoring just three against the Pacers in the fourth.

“I think he was just himself in the fourth quarter,” James said of Davis. “(Tuesday) was a tough day for us, coming off that loss, but we had a lot of conversations about how we could be better, especially in the fourth quarter, and A.D. is a big part of that. … He’s too big-time for our team not to have the ball in his hands.”

Russell Westbrook, even though he did not help close out, had 10 points and the team was plus-12 in his 23 minutes.

Maybe the surprise of the night was Austin Reaves, twirling his way through the paint for 22 points, including a dazzling up-and-under baseline drive. His big night helped compensate for the late scratches of Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr., two fairly steady starters on the wing this season.

Jerami Grant had 27 points to lead Portland, which played without All-Star guard Damian Lillard. The Lakers led by double digits for the last quarter-and-a-half of the game.

Notably, the Lakers won the rebounding battle (58-51) and had 28 assists to just seven turnovers for the night. Both had been weak spots against the Pacers that the Lakers worked on in a Tuesday film session, and getting into more sets was another. Ham credited James’ leadership and accountability in film and during a pregame walkthrough, even running an action that Ham said he would add to his playbook.

“That’s the type of coach I want to be. It’s not a dictatorship,” he said. “You want your players to be comfortable to bounce things off of you. It’s a vice-versa thing in this new NBA. Like, these guys that are equipped with the IQ, you want them to feel involved and part of the process of reestablishing our winning culture.”

There was an initial listlessness about the Lakers – particularly concerning since they were coming off of perhaps their most disheartening loss of the season. Maybe it was a hangover from that game; maybe it was the slog of missing starters from the lineup, but things were looking grim early when the Lakers were down 17-8 to the short-handed Blazers.

But slowly the Lakers started to stir, first from Davis’ two first-quarter blocked shots (including an emphatic rejection of spot starter Trendon Watford). Then Reaves turned up the volume with a fast-break dunk to tie the score, sending the Lakers on a 9-0 run.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Pioneer Newz is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.