The Blazers’ current losing streak extended to three games after the Lakers exited the Moda Center with a 128-120 victory. Saturday’s action unfolded in the shadow of Skal Labissière’s knee injury that occurred in the early portion of the first quarter. Despite his exit, the Blazers battled the first-place Lakers to the final whistle. Ultimately, LeBron James’ masterful double-double proved to be the difference (21 points, 16 assists).
Here is a look back at Saturday’s result as we wait for news on Labissière’s injury.
The Blazers’ plans to combat the Lakers’ abundance of size came to an abrupt end when Skal Labissière exited early in the first quarter with a left knee injury. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers focused on attacking the paint. Size was not the only thing working in Los Angeles’ favor. Anthony Davis, LeBron James and JaVale McGee all did a superb job of sealing off their defenders in pursuit of favorable opportunities. The Lakers finished the first quarter with a 24-12 advantage in the points in the paint column.
Regardless of the size disparity, the Blazers kept pace thanks to a 14-point outburst from Damian Lillard. On top of Lillard’s exploits, Portland’s proficient shooting from distance provided a cushion when Los Angeles completed a 10-0 run late in the frame. The Lakers finished the first quarter with a slight 34-32 lead.
Kyle Kuzma took a shot to the face in the opening quarter, but that setback did not slow him down. The former Utah standout had his shot clicking from inside and outside the arc. Kuzma added 11 points to his total in the second quarter?