The Vegas Odds makers might have had the Lakers as favorites in their 1st round playoff series with the Blazers, but Portland is no typical 8th seed team. They proved it stealing what would be homecourt advantage from the Lakers in a 100-93 win on Tuesday night.
The Lakers immediately had excuses postgame. The Blazer’s arent really an 8th seed team. There aren’t any fans and its hard to win without them. There is off court stuff we don’t want to talk about. The rim was bent.
The Blazers had no excuses. Even in yhe fourth down six points, the Lakers with momentum and smiles on their faces as though they had won. One problem…well two. The game wasn’t over, not nearly and secondly they forgot to look at their watches:Dame Time.
The Blazers had controlled the game early pkaying one of their best 1st quarters since the restart with Nurkic compiling 10 points and 10 rebounds in the period.
Wenyen Gabriel started in place of an injured Zach Collins and despite several quick fouls, he played meaningful minutes for Portland, bringing much like he did against the Lakers back in Febuary, much needed energy and effort to the game.
The Blazers outscored the Lakers 36-25 in the opening quarter holding the Blazers to 0-8 from three and 9-30 from the field. Lillard led all scorers with 15 points in the period.
The Lakers faught back and outscored the Blazers 31-21 behind 12 points from Anthony Davis, some urgency by Lebron, and a 10 point effort from the bench.
The Blazers 57-56 at halftime. The third quarter, usually the Blazers kyrptonite was not so lethal in game 1, despite 2-7 shooting from deep. They did manage 8-19 (42%) from the field while the Lakers went 1-8 from deep and 8-22 from the field. The Blazers outscored the Lakers 21-19.
Then came thd fourth quarter that contained a sense of calmeness unlike the close, heart bombarding games of the restart. Despite the Lakers going on a run and taking a 6 point lead, despite Lebron James and Anthony Davis celebrating, we Blazer fans knew. We understood we were in safe hands.
Lillard time was coming. And, it did. Lillard hit a stop and pop three from nearly halfcourt and then another with Davis extending a late arm in his vicinity. Then CJ took a turn. Tben Melo. Then Gary. The Blazers comfortable with close games, after having played so many in the restart, handled it.
They didn’t come with excuses. No off court drama, lack of present fans, or bent rims was going to stop them. They came to win. And, they did holding the Lakers to 93 points, the lowest allowed amount of points so far in the playoffs.
The Blazers control the series 1-0. They control their destiny. The perfect storm is brewing in Orlando and it is not a hurricane. It’s the Blazers.