----- Damian Lillard scores 34 points and Jusuf Nurkic records a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 Tuesday night in game one of their best-of-seven first round Western Conference playoff series.
Maybe Charles Barkley was right!
The Hall of Famer and TNT commentator said that if the Trail Blazers qualified for the postseason that they would defeat the one-seed Los Angeles Lakers. After game one, he looks like a genius.
Damian Lillard scored nine of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead the gritty Portland Trail Blazers to a 100-93 victory on Tuesday night giving Portland a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven first round playoff series.
Lillard finished 9-of-21 from the field, 6-of-13 from three-point range, and connected all 10 of his free throws in 43 minutes of action.
The Blazers entered the fourth quarter with a 78-75 lead, but the Lakers responded with a 12-3 run pushing their lead to six at 87-81 after a Lebron James three-pointer with 7:21 to play.
The Blazers responded with eight-straight points including back-to-back threes from CJ McCollum and Lillard. Portland would outscore LA 19-6 in the final 7:21 of action.
The Blazers were without forward Zach Collins because of inflammation in his left ankle. Wenyen Gabriel started in his place.
''I like his energy, particularly at the defensive end,'' Blazers Coach Terry Stotts said about Gabriel. ''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.''
Aside from Lillard's scoring, the Blazers had a number of guys make a contribution in the win. Hassan Whiteside scored seven points and added eight rebounds and five blocks, McCollum scored 21, and Jusuf Nurkic recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
“I thought it was a great effort by our team,” Lillard said. “From the start of the game, I thought we came out with the energy and focus we needed against the best team in the league.
“We defended, we played together and I thought we shared the ball."
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and Lebron James had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists for this 24th postseason triple-double. His assists were a career playoff high.
Up Next- Game two is scheduled for Tuesday evening inside the bubble in Orlando. Tip off is set for 6:00 PM PST.
Chad's Take- Don't forget about Whiteside's five-blocks in game one.....They were HUGE!