2018-19 LA Lakers Recap: Game 1

The NBA season is officially here! I know the season started two days ago, but the Lakers didn’t play, so it technically didn’t count. The anticipation for this season with Lebron

PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 18, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
LeBron soars for his first points as a Laker.

James is as high as it’s been since Dwight Howard & Steve Nash joined the team, and we all believe the outcome will be much different than that. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers started the LeBron era with a loss. After an amazing start, where the Lakers led by as many as 10, the Lakers trailed after one quarter. LeBron’s first four points were two thunderous dunks, resulting in an early flex from the 14-time All Star. LeBron and new addition Rajon Rondo were in control of the offense, and looked like it was going to be smooth sailing.


The smiles faded quickly though, as Portland started hitting threes, and the Lakers couldn’t match it, missing their first 15 three point attempts, and didn’t regain the lead until the 3rd quarter (and that was short-lived). Portland looks like the same team as they did last year, and they just hit their shots. Damian Lillard was doing whatever he wanted, and Nik Stauskas had 16 points in the first half. He only had 14 games in his career where he scored more than 16, for the entire game! We knew that this team would struggle at times, so this loss isn’t really a concern. Plus, for some unknown reason, the Lakers stink in Portland. Maybe it’s the legal weed (but it’s legal in California too). Maybe it’s Voodoo Doughnuts. Maybe they are threatened by all the homeless. Whatever the reason, a loss in Portland is not surprising. What is surprising is how many open, uncontested threes the Blazers shot, and made.

This was a back and forth game to start the second half, with the Lakers taking the lead in the third. The Blazers starting to pull away in the middle of the quarter, PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 18: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hug after the game on October 18, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)inspired from a huge dunk by Al-Farouq Aminu, but the Lakers held their own. Josh Hart finally hit a three pointer for the Lakers, ending the drought at 15. Even Rondo hit a three! Josh Hart hit another three to end the third quarter, to trail by 3. In the fourth, the Blazers really started to pull away, extending the lead to double-digits, eventually winning by 9. The Lakers defense was far too vulnerable, doubling on players they shouldn’t and players not rotating correctly. The Lakers did a lot of things right, but they did plenty of things wrong. It’s game one, and I expect things to change in Game 2, though it doesn’t get easier against Houston.


Bright Spots

  • Off the bench, Josh Hart scored 20 points, got 3 steals, and shot 3-5 from three in 27 minutes.
  • Rajon Rondo had a double-double in his first game as a Laker, scoring 13 points and dropping 11 dimes.
  • LeBron James lead the Lakers in scoring with 26, and also got 12 rebounds, for his first double-double. He also dropped 6 dimes and got one steal.
  • Javale McGee provided plenty of highlights and solid plays, scoring 13 points, grabbing 8 boards and swatting 3 shots.


Needs Work

  • Kentavious Caldwell Pope only shot one three pointer, and totaled three shots in total in 27 minutes. The Lakers need him to be a shooter, not a non-shooter.
  • Lance Stephenson played 16 minutes, shot 2-6 from the field, and had a plus/minus of -15.
  • Brandon Ingram scored 16 points in 28 minutes, but floated in-and-out of the game too much. He needs to stay locked in for much longer, and play more minutes.



Additional Notes

  • All Photos are from NBA.com
  • Rest in peace to Blazers owner Paul Allen, who passed away due to complications with cancer on Monday, October 15, 2018.
Trail Blazers face the LosAngels Lakers on October 18, 2018 at the Moda Center.(Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers)
The Blazers tribute to late owner Paul Allen, who always sat court-side for every game.

Thanks for Reading!


Author: Brandon Rosenthal

I’m a sports fanatic, podcaster, and sports blogger. Sports is a passion of mine and I enjoy connecting with other sports fans out there. You can follow me on twitter or here on Wordpress.

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