Lakers Celebrate Kobe Bryant’s Legacy, But Fall Short To Blazers

In their first game since the passing of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 127-119.

Much like the rest of the league, the game started with a 24 and eight second shot clock violation to honor Bryant but Los Angeles came out understandably flat after the emotional tribute prior to tipoff. However, a couple of dunks from LeBron James and Anthony Davis finally seemed to get the Lakers going and they were able to capture the lead.

Los Angeles did a good job defending the paint as Davis and JaVale McGee recorded several blocks between them, but Portland found success shooting from the perimeter to keep it close. The Trail Blazers ended the quarter on an 8-0 run and the Lakers found themselves down 38-36.

The purple and gold shot well from the field to begin the second quarter as they were able to take advantage of their size and score easy baskets next to the rim. Dwight Howard was the primary beneficiary, catching passes deep in the restricted area and powering home a few dunks.

Portland stayed within striking distance as Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside carried their offense, but Los Angeles was able to keep pace. Avery Bradley converted on two free throws at the end of the quarter and gave the Lakers a slim 62-60 lead at halftime.

Los Angeles got out to a slow start on both ends to start the third quarter as they struggled to get good shots on offense while Lillard buried a pair of deep threes to give Portland the lead. However, Davis continued his hot shooting from the field, cleaning up a Danny Green miss and nailing a three to recapture the lead.

The intensity of the contest picked up considerably midway through the frame, but Lillard caught fire from beyond the arc to put the Blazers back up. As a result, the Lakers went into the final frame down 103-96.

Los Angeles offense stagnated to begin the fourth quarter as they could not get any of their shots to go down, including a few looks in the paint. However, chants of ‘Kobe!’ seemed to reenergize the team as they went on a 9-0 run to narrow the deficit.

The Blazers were able to settle back down and go back to executing their offense, keeping the Lakers at bay with timely made baskets. Los Angeles was unable to string enough stops down the stretch and would wind up dropping their second consecutive game.