Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers were able to withstand an historic night for LeBron James in Game 1. Photo from @TheNBACentral (Twitter).
- Damian Lillard led Blazers to Game 1 win over the Lakers
- LeBron’s historic triple-double not enough to pull out win
- See the odds, our analysis and best bets for Game 2 below
It was never going to be easy for the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers (53-19, 1st in West) against the Portland Trail Blazers (35-39, 8th in West).
After Game 1, we know why.
But the sky isn’t falling on LA (yet), as the Trail Blazers vs Lakers odds show the confidence in LeBron James and company evening up their series when they meet for Game 2 Thursday at the bubble in Orlando.
Trail Blazers vs Lakers Game 2 Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+6.0 (-105)||+210||O 228.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6.0 (-115)||-255||U 228.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Aug 19th. Tip-off is 9:10pm ET
Portland could definitely throw a wrench in those plans. They’re the hottest team going in the NBA right now, and, dare we say it, have the best current player in the association in Damian Lillard. Let’s see if those factors and those points are enough to wager the underdogs.
Dame and Adjustments Too Much
At this point, it’s only Steph Curry and Dame that have the respect of needing to be picked up before crossing half court.
Damian Lillard is now 55 of 134 (41%) on 30-footers this season
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) August 19, 2020
Lillard’s range is a legit weapon, demoralizing the Lakers when they gave him just a touch of airspace. It’s hard to blame Anthony Davis on the second dagger by the logo — the mind can’t fathom a dude pulling up from that far in the pick-and-roll.
THIS WAS THE PLAY.
Block by Whiteside and Damian Lillard pulls up from the parking lot. #nbauk #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/SkEdLBY47B
— Portland Trail Blazers UK (@BlazersFansUK) August 19, 2020
Dame was the catalyst and everything advertised with his game-high 34 points, but the rest of the roster came through in the clutch, when LA ran double teams to get the ball out of his hands.
The result? Three-point bombs by Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr, while CJ Mcollum went on a second-half tear of his own to finish with 21.
So Lebron passed on adding @carmeloanthony — but fought for JR Smith… hmmm 🤔 pic.twitter.com/CyfvnnScqZ
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@Jason) August 19, 2020
But maybe the biggest adjustment was Terry Stotts’ decision to go big-ball, putting centers Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside on the floor at the same time. That interior presence is something the Lakers hadn’t seen much all season. Whiteside had a game-high five blocks, including two key fourth quarter rejections that helped swing the game.
LeBron and Company Need To Improve
Even as LeBron stacked up an historic triple-double — becoming the first player in history to go 20+, 15+ and 15+ in a playoff game — you never felt like he was in control of the action like we’re accustomed to. It felt like missed opportunities when he didn’t go into the post when Gary Trent Jr was covering him, and for some reason he elected not to punish friend Carmelo Anthony. Plus, he got blocked twice by Whiteside.
LeBron James anoche frente a Portland Trail Blazers:
Es el primer jugador en la historia de la NBA en firmar un partido de 20-15-15 en un partido de Play Offs pic.twitter.com/9fy50r9FlM
— More Than A Game (@Pasion_Basket1) August 19, 2020
Anthony Davis finished with 28 points and 11 boards, but he was 8-for-24 from the field, and couldn’t find a consistent attack, settling for too many jumpers (finishing 0-for-5 from three point range). But at least they showed up.
The Lakers’ supporting cast was abysmal. Danny Green shot 4-for-12 for 10 points. His jumper has abandoned him in the bubble: he shot 25% from three-point range in seven seeding games, matching his 2-of-8 performance in Game 1. It should be noted that these are mostly wide open looks.
Gotta play Dion & Swish! Gotta give em a chance. Danny Green feet too slow for these two guards. Th boys missed Avery tonight. Lakers gotta get production from they guards & wings to go deep in the playoffs.
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) August 19, 2020
Kentavious Caldwell Pope scored just a point more than you or me, missing all nine of his field goal tries, and all five threes. Alex Caruso had a memorable spike, then finished 1-for-6 and 0-for-3 from deep. JR Smith didn’t see the floor, but he and Dion Waiters’ irrational confidence might be welcomed in Game 2.
The Lakers finished a paltry 5-for-32 from three-point range and also missed 11 free throws. It all adds up to a clunker of an opener.
What’s the Best Bet?
The Lakers’ defense held pretty strong until late in the game. While it wasn’t the result they wanted, being able to play at their pace is an advantage, and they could grind the Blazers down as the series wears on.
Though they failed to crack 100 points, and they need some secondary scoring behind their big two, head coach Frank Vogel’s postgame analysis was correct: if they hit shots at their season averages, it’s a different story.
Even at that pace, there’s no resistance to what Portland wants to run offensively. If they keep getting looks, Game 2 is going to be closer than LA fans want to see.
The pick: Trail Blazers +6.0 (-110) & Under 228.5 (-110)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.