The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed back Xavier Henry to the lineup in tonight’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers are the NBA’s highest scoring team so far.
The Lakers had their work more than cut out for them, but the squad was ready for the challenge as they put up a tremendous fight. Pau put up impressive numbers with 22 points and nine rebounds.
The Lakers brought their A-game to start off the game. Gasol was off to a great start in the first four minutes of the game scoring six of the Lakers 12 points early on. Gasol followed up with a steal after a bad pass from Damian Lillard and dished to Wesley Johnson who made a jumper putting the Lakers ahead the Blazers by eight points. The Lakers hot streak continued throughout the quarter, especially after Bazemore draining his second three-pointer of the first, later followed by a monster dunk from Jodie Meeks. The Lakers looked athletic and in control with 13 total fast break points as the finished the first quarter beating Portland 33-20.
The Lakers looked to maintain their lead going into the second, but Portland took a stronger stand this quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge had a total of 17 points in the first half and cut down the Lakers lead to as much as four points. Robin Lopez had a monster block against Jodie Meeks and also followed up with an equally monstrous dunk. Although these performances were not enough to fully take diminish the Lakers lead. Los Angeles was aggressive in the paint, scoring 32 of their 63 points in the half from there.
Meeks had a beautiful assist to Johnson late in the quarter followed by a huge dunk from Bazemore. By the end of the half, the Trail Blazers were still putting up a strong fight but had nine turnovers, five of which resulted in Laker steals. The Lakers had an uncharacteristic aggressiveness this half, contributing to the Lakers 63-56 lead going into half time.
After an impressive first half, the Lakers continued to maintain their strong lead for most of the quarter. Damien Lillard started off the half making a three-point shot as Portland closed in on the Lakers lead, but Bazemore responded with yet another three allowing the Lakers to stay ahead. The aggressiveness would also continue as Pau blazed past Lopez for a demoralizing dunk.
Although with only a few minutes remaining, Dorell Wright made back-to-back threes shrinking the Trail Blazers lead to as little as three. Wright continued to be dominant contributing another two point shot. The Lakers ended up finishing the third with 12 additional points from the paint, but their lead greatly decreased going into the fourth with a score of 87-84.
The fourth quarter was probably the most exciting twelve minutes of the game. The two teams begun within three points of each other, which was the closest the game had been all night.
Amidst the excitement the Lakers were able to remain triumphant. A Ryan Kelly steal early on forced an Aldridge turnover which would be one of Portland’s 20 turnovers for the entire game. Farmar also dished an impressive pass from the paint to Meeks who capitalized by draining a three. As the Trail Blazers began to close in on the Lakers, Farmar also forced a turnover with a steal but quickly lost the ball resulting in a Nicolas Batum jumper, reducing the Lakers lead to just two points.
Portland stayed within two points with minute and a half left and looked as if they were going to take the lead until Lillard was called for traveling making it Lakers ball.
As the result of a Bazemore inbounds lob to Johnson, the Lakers were able to beat the Blazers in exciting fashion, 107-106.
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