Lakers
Photo Credit: Register Guard

Game Preview: Lakers vs Trail Blazers First Round: Game 3

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Series is tied 1-1

 

The Los Angeles Lakers play Game 3 of their first round playoff matchup in the bubble against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday evening at 5:30 pm PST.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: LA Times

In their last outing, we saw the Lakers wreck havoc on the Portland Trail Blazers. The effortlessly destroyed Portland, with the final score of 111-88. Anthony Davis leads the charge by dropping 31 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists in only 29 minutes. LeBron James posted only 10 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in the win.

This game’s box score is a perfect example of what the Lakers want to do night in and night out. The tenacious Lakers defense followed up by efficient offense is the only way a team can win in this league, and the Lakers did both of these things in the last game. 

 

If the Lakers can keep their same energy, there shouldn’t be many more games left in this series.

 

Nonetheless, Game 3 is on the horizon, and it’s a big game. Both teams won one, and whoever wins this game will get the advantage in the series. Portland is looking to bounce back after an embarrassing outing in which they shot a brutal 27% from three-point land and coughed up 17 turnovers. Damian Lillard ended Game 2 with only 18 points, three rebounds, and 1 assist in 30 minutes.

 

Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

He didn’t receive much help from his partner in crime, CJ McCollum, either. McCollum finished with a mere 13 points, three assists, and five rebounds in, the team-high, 33 minutes of play. Future Hall of Fame forward Carmelo Anthony didn’t do well at all either, finishing with only 2 points and one assist in 27 minutes of play.

In the third quarter of the last game, Damian Lillard was taken out of the game because he seemed to be favoring his hand. The injury was later diagnosed as a dislocated finger. However, Trailblazers Head Coach Terry Stotts stated Friday that Lillard would play, despite the injury.

If the Trail Blazers want any chance at cracking Los Angeles, they need to play way better than they did in Game 2. Unless the bench unit is made of all starting-caliber players, a game can’t be won with the starting unit combining for only 49 points. Maybe ten years ago, but in today’s game, offensive efficiency is needed to be successful.

Portland is definitely capable of putting up a fight. Just last season, Portland made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. If Portland can find an answer for the Lakers‘ assault, their playoff aspirations might not come to an end in the first round.

 

On the flip side, the Lakers have the Trailblazers right where they want them.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP

The Lakers found themselves in Game 2. If they were able to find a way to blow out a team as talented as Portland by 33 points with their best player, LeBron James, scoring only 10 points, Los Angeles has to feel extremely confident heading into Game 3.

As long as role players continue to fulfill their roles and the stars continue to shine, LA can wrap this series up in 5 games.

For Portland to win Game 3, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum must combine for at least 60 points. Melo also needs to step it up on both ends of the floor. He has scored in spurts but hasn’t been consistent and needs to be more effective on the defensive side of the ball. Every player on the Trail Blazers needs to treat this game as an elimination game because they only have five more games to put the Lakers away.

 

 

The game can be seen on ABC with the tip-off scheduled for 5:30 PM today.

 

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-Mike Dancy II – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: MDancyII

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