The Lakers’ 13-point lead was cut to six early in the fourth quarter, prompting Anthony Davis to worry as he came off the bench and headed to the scorer’s table. When he paused to talk to an assistant coach to go over the plan, the Portland Trail Blazers scored again and the Lakers’ lead was now down to four.
Lakers head coach Davon Ham had seen enough and called a timeout with 9:15 left in the game.
Davis immediately returned to the game to help restore order.
“Personally, I just want to get back in the game and control the game again,” Davis said.
Davis did his part to ensure the Lakers maintained control of the game, scoring nine points, grabbing four rebounds, dishing out one assist and making all of his free throws in the fourth quarter.
read more: Without LeBron James, Lakers adjust to new ‘status quo’ to beat Portland
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 116-110 victory over Portland on Sunday night at Crypto.com Arena.
Anthony Davis steps up
With LeBron James out with a bruised left calf, Davis will shoulder more of the load.
Davis proved he was up to the task, scoring 30 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. He made 10 of 12 free throws.
He played 41 minutes and had a plus-minus of plus-17.
More importantly, when the Lakers started to make waves in the fourth quarter, Davis would not let the team down.
He scored with his left hand, converted the basket and free throw into a three-pointer, made two free throws, scored inside and assisted Hachimura for a layup, helping the Lakers end the game.
“We weren’t good offensively. We were forcing shots or no-pass shots and stuff like that. So, I saw that happening and I went to the table and checked myself,” Davis said.
Rui Hachimura made most of his first starts
For the first time this season, Hachimura was asked to start for the Lakers, and his backup role changed Sunday night due to James’ injury.
Hachimura’s transition was very smooth. He scored 19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 key steals for the Lakers.
In his short time with the Lakers, Hachimura has been both a starter and a role player.
“It’s different, but at the end of the day, it’s the same,” Hachimura said. “The things I have to do are the same – defend, rebound, attack. It’s the same thing. Of course, rhythm-wise, it’s easy to get into the starting lineup. But for the team, if they need me off the bench, Of course I’ll accept it. “It’s just that I have to adapt to the rhythm of being a substitute. “
Hachimura was the main force for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, scoring 8 points in the final game.
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He tipped in a missed shot by Davis to give the Lakers a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, and then his two free throws essentially sealed the game, giving the Lakers a six-point lead.
“We have to win, that’s what I think,” Hachimura said. “LeBron was out and we just had to get this win. In the fourth quarter, they came back, so I knew it was going to be a time-earning moment.”
Austin Reeves has fit in perfectly in his new role as the Lakers’ sixth man over the past two games.
Reeves was one of six players to score in double figures, and his scoring was very efficient – he made 6 of 12 shots and 2 of 4 three-pointers for 18 points. He added four rebounds and four assists.
“Basketball to me is basketball — starting, coming off the bench,” Reeves said. “Go home and play pickup. “No matter what the situation is, I’m going to try to play the same way and yeah, that’s it. “
Three-pointers are still difficult
Entering Sunday’s game, the Lakers ranked third from the bottom in the league in three-point shooting, shooting just 31.1%.
They didn’t help themselves against Portland.
The Lakers shot 21.1% from three-point range and made 4 of 19 shots.
“Obviously, it would be nice if you could take more shots, but there are nights like this,” Reeves said. “And you just have to figure it out on the fly.”
take care of the ball
The Lakers played the basketball well and turned the ball over just nine times, a season low.
Of the nine players who took the field, no one committed more than one turnover.
read more: Inside the Lakers’ decision to move Austin Reeves to the second unit
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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.