The Portland Trail Blazers are threatening to cause an NBA boilover after toppling the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their playoffs series.
The Lakers have struggled to adapt to life in the Orlando bubble, only managing to win two of their seven previous encounters.
Despite topping the Western Conference, the Lakers’ woes have continued with a 100-93 loss against eighth-seeded Portland, once again failing to reach triple figures.
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Although the Lakers were able to briefly take the lead in the final quarter, a flurry of late threes ensured a comeback was not possible.
LeBron James provided another stellar performance, achieving his 24th postseason triple-double, including 23 points — the four-time MVP became the first player in NBA history to record at least 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists in a playoff game.
However, the Lakers were let down by inconsistent shooting from the three-point line, where they finished 5-for-32.
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“We had a couple of breakdowns, which you can’t have down the stretch, especially against a team like Portland,” James said after the game.
“We had some great opportunities, some great looks. We just didn’t knock them down.”
Portland forward Damian Lillard scored a game-high 34 points, while Jusuf Nurkic managed 15 rebounds. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis scored 28 points in 39 minutes for the Lakers.
“Every game since we’ve been here has been a playoff game. So that prepared us for a game like this,” Lillard said.
“It’s only one win. I’m happy to be here competing in the playoffs again, but we’ve got to move on to the next one.”
Blazers coach Terry Stotts praised replacement forward Wenyen Gabriel after the game: “I like his energy, particularly at the defensive end.
“I like his length and athleticism. When you have a starting lineup with Dame, CJ, Melo and Nurk, I think he complements them. He doesn’t need the ball and I think he’ll make the plays that we need.”
Legendary NBA coach George Karl tweeted: “Lakers should feel worried at this point. Trust me, I know about losing to an 8 seed.”
After Portland secured 1-0 lead in the seven-match series, Game 2 will take place Friday morning AEST.