The Los Angeles Lakers, still without a road win in 2015, took another defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers and dropped their six consecutive game, including 15 of their last 16.
The road struggles continued, as the Lakers have now set a new franchise-record 11-game road losing streak. The last time they won a road game was on December 28 in Denver when Kobe Bryant recorded a triple-double. Since then, they have been wrecked by an average of 12.7 points per game away from home.
The Lakers started off tonight’s game by sticking within striking distance all the way up to halftime, down only by eight points, 52-44. However, Portland mastered an 18-6 run early in the third period to quickly put the game out of reach. Wesley Matthews was the catalyst, scoring 10 points in the quarter to drown the Lakers, who got nothing out of their young starting lineup.
The Blazers held on to their lead the rest of the way en route to a 102-86 victory, giving them their fourth win in the last five games.
Despite the horrific loss, Jordan Clarkson continued to shine, as he scored 17 points, snatched six boards, and dished out four assists. He has been playing with a lot of confidence since being inserted in to the starting lineup, as has his backcourt mate Wayne Ellington, who put up 16 points and a career-high eight rebounds in 34 minutes. Both have taken advantage of their new roles.
The Lakers bench, who has been magnificent over the past six games by averaging 52.7 points, was quiet by their standards in this game, scoring just 33 points. Wesley Johnson led the bench with 12 points, while Ed Davis added eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
Nick Young had to leave this game late in the third quarter after hurting his leg. He seemed to be in a lot of pain, as he hobbled his way to the locker room and did not return, finishing with nine points on 4 of 12 shooting. The team is calling Young’s injury a peroneal tendon strain. Thankfully, the All-Star break is coming up so Young has over a week to rest up. He expects to be ready to play after the All-Star break.
Wesley Matthews scored a game-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in only 29 minutes. LaMarcus Aldridge recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Damian Lillard, who has had incredible scoring outings against the Lakers, was quiet in this one but didn’t have to do much as his team cruised to victory. He finished with 15 points and eight assists.
The Blazers were sharing the ball, notching 27 assists as a team on 35 made baskets. However, they did not shoot too well from the field, making only 40.7 percent of their shots, but they held the Lakers to 36.6 percent on the defensive end. The Blazers were a plus-11 from the free-throw line, hitting 22 of their 23 attempts, good for 95.7 percent.
Furthermore, Portland torched Los Angeles in the fast break, outscoring the Lakers, 21-8. They also owned the battle in the paint, 36-26, and had a small edge in rebounding, 52-48.
Robin Lopez, who had 10 points and nine rebounds tonight, has really helped the team since his return from a hand injury, as they have gone 4-1 with him back in the lineup. After the Houston Rockets lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Blazers now stand third in the Western Conference with a 36-17 record, which is identical to their record before the All-Star break last season.
The Lakers fall to 13-40 and are in danger of dropping to last place in the conference, as they own only a two-game lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers’ 13-40 record is the worst mark in franchise history before the All-Star break.
Following the All-Star weekend, the Lakers will be back in action Friday, February 20th, at home against the Brooklyn Nets. The Blazers will also play their next game that Friday on the road against the Utah Jazz.