If Portland’s latest moves seem to show anything, it’s that the Oregonians aren’t very interested in winning the remainder of the season. However, if anything makes the Lakers’ performance in recent weeks clear, it is how much it costs them to do so. Not even against some Blazers in the box and starting a clear reconstruction did the Angelenos manage to prevail, and added a painful defeat at the Moda Center that continues to aggravate their game crisis. Vogel’s side have fallen in their last four away games, and remain in an awkward ninth position with a record of 26-30.
On this occasion, the Californian team could not count on Russell Westbrook, who missed his first game of the course due to back pain. Without the point guard as a scapegoat, the Lakers made the same mistakes as always, and ended up succumbing to a few Blazers who were fair and showed that their current problems are deeper than it seems. It is true that they were on the second night of a back to backbut this was also the case for the Oregonians, who hosted the Magic on Tuesday.
Anfernee Simons, with 29 points, was the visitors’ nightmare, as she had the determination in the bag from which those of gold and purple suffered. The guard added 10 of his goals in the last quarter, and scored two triples in the last three minutes and two free throws in the last seconds that distanced his team enough to win the duel.
The Lakers, on the other hand, depended excessively on LeBron James in this stretch, as no one other than him scored a basket in play in the last 6 minutes. The one from Akron, who finished with 30 points, 14 of which came in the fourth period, tried to save the ballot, but, as has been happening this season, his big numbers fell a little short when it came to giving victory to theirs.
Anthony Davis, meanwhile, could not go over 17 points, although he rounded off his performance with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Also, with 5 blocks he tried to reinforce the team’s defense, but he couldn’t prevent the Blazers from scoring 58 points in the paint.
Jusuf Nurkic, author of 19 points and 12 rebounds, was one of those responsible for this, and thus managed to be the great reference of Billups after Simons. In addition, Justise Winslow and Greg Brown III each added 11 points, while Dennis Smith Jr. had 11 assists and 6 steals in a versatile performance as part of the second unit.
(Cover photo: Anfernee Simmons/Getty Images)