The streak is finally over.
The Los Angeles Lakers had lost 16 straight games to the Portland Trail Blazers, but a huge bench effort led by Rajon Rondo, and a lot of LeBron James late, propelled them to a 114-110 victory at the Moda Center.
James led the way as usual, finishing with 28 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. But it was the Rondo-led second unit that really swayed things in the Lakers’ favor, scoring 51 points and getting some unexpected contributions.
Rondo finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals as was the driving force on the night. He, surprisingly was supplemented by Ivica Zubac playing a major role with nine points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes.
The Lakers also got 11 points from Josh Hart and seven apiece from Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This game wasn’t without its scares as the Lakers once again struggled to hold on to a big lead.
A 16-2 third quarter run put the Lakers ahead by 17 and the lead grew to as many as 20 in the fourth. That was where Brandon Ingram threw down a poster-worthy over Jusuf Nurkic with his left hand.
But the Blazers would battle back behind their outstanding backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum who each dropped 30 points on the night. The Blazers cut the deficit to five with one minute remaining, but the Lakers were able to keep them at bay in the end.
JaVale McGee also continued his outstanding start to the season with 12 points, 9 rebounds, and a season-high 6 blocks as he increased his league lead in blocks per game.
The win was the Lakers second consecutive victory and improved their record to 4-5, but there is no time for celebration as they will come right back home and host the Eastern Conference’s elite, the Toronto Raptors.