For the first 24 minutes this one was your typical Lakers-Blazers battles. There was activity, energy, lobs, dunks, crazy shots and plenty of physical play. All the things we’ve seen over the years in this unrivaled rivalry.
Unlike what we’ve seen of Mike Brown’s Lakers the Lake Show couldn’t be stopped on offense early dropping 10 of their first eleven. It looked like they might find their way to victory in Portland.
Then the third quarter rolled around and Lakers got lost on their path to victory. Everything you’d expect of the Lake Show playing in Portland came to pass. Turnovers, bad offense, worse defense and a pathetic effort put the L in Lakers as the purple and gold folded 107-96.
How else can you explain this?
Coaches have come and gone. Players have changed and been changed again. No matter what the Lakers just can’t win in Portland.
Tonight the man that took the Laker Killer crown was Gerald Wallace. 31 points on only 19 shots and he made it looks way too easy…oh right…because it was. There really is no answer for Wallace, at least not one in a Laker jersey.
Ummm…ditto for LaMarcus Aldridge.
With two athletic bigs the Lakers should stand a chance of checking LA. Problem is Aldridge is too strong for Pau Gasol and too quick for Andrew Bynum. When Pau tries to body him up, Aldridge puts him in the hurt locker and bangs it in the post. When Drew rotates out on the pick and roll, Aldridge drains open 15 footers. 28 and 10 for LaMarcus that was also way too easy.
Then the guy that really makes it looks easy against the Lakers’ lazy perimeter D is Jamal Crawford. Typical Crawford, he was on the court but barely present for the first half then got hot and took over the second half. Devin Ebanks doesn’t have half a chance of checking Crawford but there he was, guarding the hottest shooter in the Rose Garden in the fourth quarter.
Yeah… that didn’t end well. Just like this game.
Instead of folding in the fourth, the Lakers just rolled over in the third.
The defense we’d be praising was pathetic. Portland played with more energy for sure but the Lakers just didn’t communicate at all on defense. More to the point, the Lakers just don’t have the athletes to trouble Portland on the perimeter.
Also, the offense that finally took off against the Rockets was burnt by the Blazers.
Either Nate McMillan has his squad playing D or this is just what we should expect no matter who the opponent is. Your usual three Lakers were the only ones in double figures. Guess of that was?
No matter who goes up against Kobe Bryant they’re guaranteed to get an advanced course in hoops. Mamba was dialed in from the jump. He had that look in his eyes and you knew what was coming next. Indefensible jumpers, ankle cracking crosses and plenty of pouting too.
Some things you can just set your watch to in Portland.
You can also wind a clock to Bynum this season. Ah hem…21 points and 12 boards in bullying fashion. Yes sir, folks. This is what a franchise big does, nightly. Keep it up Bynum. Clearly the Lakers will need all his production to be…a .500 team?
Because that is what the Lakers are. A .500 ball club. The record says so. The inconsistent efforts reflect that. The lack of talent and depth in key positions makes it an almost certainty.
We know winning in Portland is problematic. What we didn’t expect was winning anywhere on the road would be such a problem. Coach Brown is still looking for that first road W as the Lakers’ coach. For sure the chemistry is still being discovered. It seems like each game we’re seeing different versions of this team. Not sure which one we’ll see against Golden State tomorrow night. Hopefully it is one that hasn’t forgotten how to defend home court.
For now let’s just get out of Portland.