After perhaps over-relying on LeBron James early in the season, the Lakers have proven they’re capable of winning without him. They didn’t do it against their most formidable opponents, as the Trail Blazers are still a team under construction, but, with a 116-110 win, they avoided a worrisome game of frustration.
In fact, it wasn’t all that far away from happening, as Ham’s team sounded the alarm at Crypto.com Arena with almost a 14-point lead at the end of the third quarter, only to have the rest of the fourth quarter In that time, the team led 0-12. To a point in Portland. That’s when Anthony Davis did what he’d been asked to do so many times and took pride in putting his team on his back and responding forcefully enough to push the duel forward.
It wasn’t a pretty basketball game, but it was effective. Laseha scored 9 points in the last quarter and was supported by Hachimura, who also scored 8 points. The two became the team’s scoring leaders with 30 points and 19 points respectively. The center also contributed 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks, confirming that the injury scare him a few days ago and that he is ready to push the envelope.
Los Angeles went 5-5 and was gradually shaking off some of the doubts they had been building. The team hasn’t been as good as it was down the stretch last year, but we’ll see if they can get their feel back and with a defensive centerpiece like Jared Vanderbilt back they can be successful. Climb to the west position.
Jerami Grant, who scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, was about to add to the trouble, but the Californians responded in time to prevent him from taking over the game. The power forward was the team’s leading scorer behind Shaedon Sharpe’s 19 points and the surprising Skylar Mars, who has been the team’s leading scorer this year under Scott Henderson made his first start without Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon and scored 15 points and 12 assists.
(Cover photo: Meg Olyphan/Getty Images)