3 Thoughts: Damian Lillard Demolishes Lakers In 4th Quarter


1. No Answer for Damian Lillard

The Lakers suffered another beating at the hands of Damian Lillard for the second time in the same week as he scored a total of 34 points in 36 minutes. Lakers coach Byron Scott thought that the energy of Ronnie Price would help to check Lillard, but that idea was quickly dispelled after Lillard put up 13 points in the first half.

Lillard continued his offensive onslaught by scoring 21 points in the second half, with 17 of those points coming in the 4th quarter, giving the Lakers deja vu from their previous match up with the Trail Blazers earlier in the week. Lillard was also showing he could distribute the ball by racking up 7 assists.

Containing Lillard on the offensive end of the floor has proven to be a near impossible task for the Lakers as neither Jeremy Lin nor Price could keep up with Damian’s speed, strength, and basketball IQ. Not only could the Lakers not stop Lillard, but they also had no answer for his great play. This may have been a choice game to have Kobe Bryant play, but the coaching staff had elected to rest him another game.

2. Lack of Scoring from Lakers SG 

In the absence of Kobe Bryant, coach Scott had chosen to start Wayne Ellington and keep Nick Young as the sixth man. Unfortunately, this was a game where having Kobe play would have been a huge help because of his ability to pile on the points.

Ellington and Young simply did not measure up to expectations as they both had poor shooting nights. Although Ellington had 10 points and 6 rebounds, he shot an abysmal 3-10 from the field. Nick Young also had a poor shooting night as he went 3-11. While Ellington has proven to be somewhat mediocre over the course of the season, it seemed as though the Lakers were looking to let Young shoulder the weight of scoring, but Swaggy simply could not deliver tonight.

Young has been in a slump for about the last three games and it has really affected the Lakers’ offensive production. When Bryant is out, it is absolutely essential that Ellington and Young both contribute more consistently in the scoring department for the Lakers to win, especially against good teams such as Portland.

Nick Young lives and dies by his jumper, which is equally good and bad. As of late, Young’s shot has been broken and he has appeared very frustrated as he has been trying to shoot his way out of his slump. It seems as though going to the basket would benefit him more than the jumper.

3. Running Out of Gas

The Lakers were still in the game up until the 4th quarter, which is reminiscent of their previous match-up with Portland earlier in the week. The Lakers defense allowed Lillard to explode in the final quarter of play, which helped push the Trail Blazers over the hump to pick up the win.

Whenever Lillard touched the ball in the 4th, it seemed as if he was going to score regardless of whoever was guarding him. Lin and Price were both being burned by Lillard off the dribble and the switches on screens were causing problems for the purple and gold as well. It seems as though the Lakers are lacking an X-factor on defense (although that is considered to be Ronnie Price) and it is really hurting them.

If Kobe were playing, he would have probably been the one to switch onto Lillard, but there is impossible to say that Lillard would not have still gone off the way he did against the Lakers last night.

Next: Byron Scott: Kobe Bryant's Minutes Were An 'Overload'