The Los Angeles Lakers learned their lesson.
Anthony Davis had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the top-seeded Lakers bounced back from an opening loss to rout the Portland Trail Blazers 111-88 on Thursday night in Game 2 of the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
“Obviously, this is an important game for us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have tremendous respect for them. We’re going to have to battle the way we did tonight in every game this series.”
Davis scored 28 points in Game 1, but made just 8 of 24 shots. In Game 2, he made 13 of 21.
“I just wanted to come out tonight with the mindset tonight to be aggressive and to help my team on both ends of the floor and do whatever I had to do to help the team win,” he said.
LeBron James had 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers for the Lakers. He had 23 points, 17 rebounds and a playoff career-high 16 assists in Game 1.
The Trail Blazers stunned the Lakers 100-93 in Game 1, but things went horribly wrong in Game 2. A poor performance got worse when All-Star guard Damian Lillard dislocated the index finger on his left hand in the third quarter. The team said X-rays were negative.
“It’s just sore,” Lillard said. “A little bit tender to the touch. Dislocated it. A little bit sore, a little bit swollen. Uncomfortable.”
Portland coach Terry Stotts said it’s too early to determine Lillard’s status for Game 3.
Lillard was held to 18 points Thursday after ripping the Lakers for 34 in Game 1.
Davis scored 21 points in the first half to help the Lakers take a 56-39 lead. The Trail Blazers’ high-powered offense shot 35% in the half.
Early in the third quarter, Davis aggressively grabbed a defensive rebound, then fired a long pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a breakaway jam that gave the Lakers a 63-41 lead.
The Lakers continued to pour it on and led 88-58 after three quarters. Los Angeles led by 32 points in the period.
It was quite a drop-off for The Trail Blazers, who had been one of the best teams in the bubble.
“We didn’t relax, they just went after it harder than we did,” Lillard said. “It was their night. It didn’t help that we didn’t play well on the offensive end.”
Blazers: Shot 40% overall. … Made just 8 of 29 3-pointers. … CJ McCollum scored 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting.
Lakers: G Rajon Rondo, listed as questionable as he recovers from right thumb surgery, was inactive. … Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points.
The Lakers hounded Lillard and McCollum into making a combined 12 of 30 shots.
“You can’t pressure them because they live under the pressure, they succeed under the pressure, they thrive under pressure,” James said. “You can’t have breakdowns. When you have a defensive strategy you have to execute that strategy for 48 minutes, or for the minutes that they’re on the floor. I think we did a great job of that tonight.”
JUST DOING HIS JOB
Portland coach Terry Stotts, answering what Lillard was doing in the game late in the third quarter with his team down 30: “He was playing basketball.”
Game 3 is Saturday.