Before the Lakers took the court Thursday night, the warmup music took on a very old school vibe.
«Real Love» by Mary J. Blige, «ABC» by the Jackson Five; songs by Puff Daddy, the Bee Gees and Soul II Soul played. They were songs from different eras and genres but with one common theme — they all came from a time when it would have been unthinkable for the Lakers to go eight years, three months and two days without a playoff win.
That was exactly how long it had been.
On Thursday night, that particular curse ended.
The Lakers dominated the Portland Trail Blazers 111-88, recovering from a Game 1 loss with a blowout win. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got his shooting touch back, Anthony Davis imposed his aggression, LeBron James exploited the double teams, and the Lakers’ defense, for one night, broke a tired Trail Blazers team.
Davis had 21 points at halftime, finishing with 31 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. James added 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
The Lakers took an early lead and held control over the Trail Blazers through the first quarter. Caldwell-Pope made his first three-pointer of the series with eight minutes to go in the first quarter and immediately followed with another one. The Lakers led by anywhere from six to 11 points for most of the second quarter until a burst before halftime.
James spearheaded a 12-2 run in the first half’s final three minutes. He assisted Davis on two shots, hit a floater of his own and Davis made a three-pointer. At halftime, the Lakers led 56-39.
Third-quarter starts have been a problem for the Lakers lately, but that peccadillo did not appear Thursday night. They opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run and never looked back, leading by 30 going into the final 12 minutes.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Three observations» data-reactid=»37″>Three observations
- To start the second quarter, coach Frank Vogel tried a new lineup, adding a player he hadn’t played at all in Game 1: JR Smith. Dion Waiters, who only played one minute in Game 1, also saw playing time, starting the second quarter.
- Portland star Damian Lillard suffered a dislocated finger during the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. Lillard scored 18 points for the Blazers, but only made one of seven three-point attempts.
- The Lakers continued their strong defense against Portland. As a result, Portland only made 25% of its threes and had its first bubble game in which it scored less than 100 points.