The Portland Trail Blazers kept that momentum going from the play-in tournament, knocking off the top-seed Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series on Tuesday night. Damian Lillard scored 34 points for the Blazers, who entered as the No. 8 seed. LeBron James had a massive 23-point, 17-rebound, 15-assists triple-double despite the loss.
Dame got some late help from CJ McCollum, who scored 21 points despite struggling from the field. Jusuf Nurkic had a solid game down low for the Blazers with 16 points and 15 rebounds for another double-double. Even Carmelo Anthony flirted with a — checks box score — triple-double? He scored 11 points with 11 boards and 5 assists in the win.
Anthony Davis is going to want his Lakers’ playoff debut back. AD scored 28 points with 11 boards, but shot 8-of-24 from the field, went 0-for-5 from 3-point land and 12-of-17 from the line. Yikes! James couldn’t carry a Lakers team that — beyond AD — looks a lot like those Cavaliers teams he dragged to the Finals year-after-year.
Portland entered the series +315 to take down the Lakers. There was a big percentage of the handle on L.A. to win the series and 3⁄4 of the bets were on the Lake Show to win. You’ve got to think now people may jump ship and get on the Blazers to pull off the upset. Really, it’s not all that surprising. Portland has a better roster than it did last season when it went to the Western Conference Finals. Sure, the Lakers and Clippers are in the way of that. But really those are the two teams the Blazers would have to take down to reach the Finals.