Image source: Archysport
On Sunday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers managed the unthinkable when they beat the Los Angeles Lakers 106 – 104.
The victory marks the third straight win for the Blazers into the NBA 2022-2023 season.
The Portland Trail Blazers remain undefeated.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are still winless under new coach Darvin Ham.
Damian Lillard was an instrumental player for the Blazers.
He helped carry the team for long stretches throughout the game, scoring 41 points.
Lillard scored 12 points in the final five minutes.
Last season, he missed the final 47 games due to injuries.
However, he scored 41 points in Portland’s second and third games of the season.
Lillard also continued his excellent performance against the Lakers, improving his career average of 28 points per game.
Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billips praised his performance, saying:
“Obviously, Dame is back, and he’s pretty much putting the league on notice.”
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The final stretch
Los Angeles Lakers players Patrick Beverley, James and Russell Westbrook all missed their shows down the stretch.
Anfernee Simons hit a leaning layup over Anthony Davis as they had 36 seconds left to turn things around.
Westbrook shot but missed a 15-footer as the clock ran down with 27 seconds and 16 seconds left on the shot clock.
Damian Lillard shot his sixth 3-pointer before LeBron James drove for an uncontested tying dunk.
However, Jerami Grant scored the tiebreaker, finishing with 16 points.
“We all trusted the next guy to do their job,” said Lillard.
“We were able to get stops, not turn the ball over, and hit our shots.”
James went for an 18-footer shot but failed to connect.
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Lonnie Walker managed to bring home 15 points, while Westbrook contributed 10 points.
Westbrook said he took his early jumper into the final minute as a 2-for-1 to ensure the Lakers would have the final possession.
He sat for eleven straight clock minutes before returning to the court.
The Trail Blazers had 7-foot Jusuf Nurkic guard him.
Nurkic was instructed to guard the 2017 NBA MVP in an attempt to force Westbrook to beat them.
Westbrook missed his two fourth-quarter shots.
“We were getting some of the same shots (down the stretch) we were getting (earlier),” said LeBron James.
“Just didn’t make them. (Westbrook) got some good looks and wasn’t able to knock them down.”
“Defensively, we couldn’t get multiple stops in a row. And Dame was Dame down the stretch.”
The Portland Trail Blazers will host the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
Lillard, Grant lead Blazers’ late rally past Lakers, 106-104