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Portland Trail Blazers 122-131 LA Lakers: 5 Talking Points as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony recreate old match-up | NBA Playoffs 2020

Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James kept going at each other all game
Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James kept going at each other all game
Raunak J
ANALYST
Modified 30 Aug 2020, 11:14 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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After succumbing to a shock loss in the series opener, the LA Lakers have thoroughly dominated the Portland Trail Blazers. On Saturday, they took Game 5 131-122 to make it four straight wins and eliminated Terry Stotts' side from the Western Conference picture of the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James was at the heart of this decimation as he recorded yet another triple-double to torch the Portland Trail Blazers. CJ McCollum tried to hold his own against the LA Lakers with a 36-point game but that wasn't enough to prevent his side from losing. Damian Lillard's absence was felt largely by the Portland Trail Blazers as they crashed out of the NBA Playoffs.

Without further ado, let us look into the five talking points from Game 5 between Portland Trail Blazers and LA Lakers.


#1 The shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers come up with a spirited performance

CJ McCollum gave it his all against the LA Lakers
CJ McCollum gave it his all against the LA Lakers

It was always going to be tough for the Portland Trail Blazers to overcome the LA Lakers without Damian Lillard, but they at least made the Purple and Gold sweat. While CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony led the charge with a combined 63 points between the two, three other players managed to score in double digits.

Gary Trent Jr. was unable to find his rhythm all series but managed 16 points on Saturday night. Jusuf Nurkic had his usual double-double while Anfernee Simons looked good for his 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field.

Simons stole the show in particular with his variety of skills. He brought out the stepback three, had the pace to drive to the basket, and his tenacity allowed him to effect four steals. The rookie will be the one to look out for in the next season.

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#2 LA Lakers still struggling with LeBron James off the court

LA Lakers allowed Portland Trail Blazers into the game every time LeBron James took a breather
LA Lakers allowed Portland Trail Blazers into the game every time LeBron James took a breather

In what has been a recurring theme for them all season, the LA Lakers failed to keep the same offensive flow going with LeBron James on the bench. LeBron's ability to dictate the play and find the open man makes it easier for the rest of the team to create offense.

Whenever LeBron James wasn't in the game tonight, the likes of McCollum and Anthony found the extra spring in their steps and managed to go on scoring runs with Portland not conceding as many points.

The LA Lakers will be facing much tougher teams than the Portland Trail Blazers in the subsequent rounds of the NBA Playoffs so they must learn to limit the damage when LeBron is not on the court for them.

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#3 Injuries the undoing of the Portland Trail Blazers

Hassan Whiteside could play only limited minutes today due to a finger injury
Hassan Whiteside could play only limited minutes today due to a finger injury

If the Portland Trail Blazers were at full strength for this series, they certainly would've given the LA Lakers a better challenge. Their best young prospect in Zach Collins didn't feature in the playoffs only while Damian Lillard had to miss the final game with a knee injury.

CJ McCollum played against the LA Lakers with a fractured back and still managed to be so good. Trevor Ariza would've been a great addition too, had he not decided to sit out the restart. Even today, Hassan Whiteside dislocated his finger and could only play limited minutes.

The Portland Trail Blazers still might not boast of the best roster in the league when fully fit, but they would certainly offer more than what they did against the LA Lakers in the first round.


Also read: LA Lakers superstar LeBron James is hilariously trolled on social media for his disappearing hairline


#4 Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James go at each other all night

Carmelo Anthony shined for the Portland Trail Blazers on the night
Carmelo Anthony shined for the Portland Trail Blazers on the night
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Carmelo Anthony had guarded LeBron James all series but tonight seemed a bit more special. Both these legends of the game were scoring at a high clip and LeBron got to defend Melo on several possessions as well.

It seemed like a classic contest from the days past with both Melo and LeBron going at each other all night. Anthony finished with 27 points and 7 rebounds while James had 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

This on-court rivalry goes back to high school for these two players and let's hope that we can see more of it in the coming season.


#1 Anthony Davis dominates the paint against the Portland Trail Blazers

Anthony Davis has gone to work in the paint all series long for the LA Lakers
Anthony Davis has gone to work in the paint all series long for the LA Lakers

It was another phenomenal night for Anthony Davis who gobbled up all the chances that LeBron James created for him. Even without the helping hand of LeBron, AD had a physical edge against the Portland Trail Blazers' frontcourt and allowed the LA Lakers to dominate the paint.

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Davis ended the game with 43 points on 14-of-18 shooting, his best tally for this series. He even managed to drain four treys from downtown and his ability to stretch the floor continues to come in handy for the LA Lakers. Whiteside playing limited minutes working in AD's favor who dominated Mario Hezonja and Jusuf Nurkic throughout the game.


Also read: Houston Rockets vs OKC Thunder Prediction & Match Preview - August 31st, 2020 | Game 6


Published 30 Aug 2020, 11:14 IST
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