Lakers win on Kobe Bryant Day

Josh Purnell , Courier Staff

The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night, winning 135-115 to take a 3-1 lead in their playoff series. Lebron James had 30 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes before resting for the entire fourth quarter. The other players gave valuable minutes and points as well. Five players scored 10 points or more; Anthony Davis (18), Danny Green (14), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12), Dwight Howard (13) and Kyle Kuzma (18).

The main reason James and the other players had a great game was because it was a special day. Aug. 24 is Kobe Bryant Day. Monday was 8/24 which are the two numbers Bryant wore during his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gigi Bryant in January, would have celebrated his 42nd birthday on Sunday.

Lakers wore “Black Mamba” jerseys with a heart shaped No. 2 patch on the jersey to honor Bryant’s daughter. James told the media during a press conference, “To be able to continue his legacy is something that hits home for me, and it’s easy for me because I put in the work.”

James and the Lakers most certainly put in work, coming out hot. Just five minutes into the first quarter, the Lakers were up 15-0. By halftime the score was 80-51. The 2020 Lakers is the fourth team in Lakers history to score 80 at half in a playoff game.

On the other hand, two Trail Blazers star players in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum did not have a good game. Lillard scored 11 points in 27 minutes and McCollum scored 18 points in 33 minutes. To be fair, they are both suffering due to injury. Lillard dislocated his left index finger in game two and McCollum has been playing with a fractured vertebra in his lower back. Credit to them for staying in this series and continuing to play despite  their injuries.

Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts told the media that their team is not in a good position. “You’re down 1-3, it’s a tough position against a good team. We’ll regroup, it’s one game at a time. You can break out all the cliches, but we know what we’re up against when you’re down to a good team 3-1, so we’ve got to battle.”

No question Stotts is absolutely right. The Lakers are a good team and it’s going to be a tough trail for the Blazers to crawl their way back into this series and force a game seven, no pun intended.

The way it’s looking, the Lakers know they’re only one game away from heading to the next round and they are currently on a roll. The road to the Finals is the Lakers number one mission and even when it seemed like they didn’t have a chance, they put on an outstanding performance like they did Monday night. So, when it looks like the Lakers are done, don’t count them out. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trailblazers will be back at it tonight for Game 5 at 8 p.m., live on TNT.