Trail Blazers Face Elimination After Blowout Loss To Lakers In Game 4

by Casey Holdahl
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The Portland Trail Blazers were outscored 15-0 and trailed by as many as 30 in the first half and 38 in the second before losing 135-115 to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference one-eight first round series Monday night at AdventHealth Arena outside of Orlando.

“Lakers were clicking on all cylinders and our offense couldn’t get anything going early,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “They played really well and we got off to a poor start. Obviously it put us in a hole, a big hole, to begin with, so we were fighting uphill all night.”

The Lakers now lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 to be played Wednesday night.

Portland missed their first three attempts from the field, were blocked twice, missed a pair of free throws and turned the ball over once by time CJ McCollum made a 20-foot jumper for the Trail Blazers’ first points of the game with 7:44 to play in the first quarter.

And in the meantime, after missing their first two attempts of the game, the Lakers made three three-pointers, two free throws and two 20-foot jumpers to take a 15-0 lead less than four minutes into regulation.

The Lakers would go on to score 43 points in the first quarter to 25 for the Trail Blazers.

It wouldn’t take Portland nearly as long to score to start the second quarter, but it hardly mattered. Los Angeles shot 58 percent form the field and 50 percent from three in the quarter to go up by 30 late in the first half. If there was any doubt that the game was effectively over by the end of the first quarter, no such doubt remained by the end of the second.

Damian Lillard left the game in the third quarter with a “right knee injury” and did not return. Lillard, who is playing after dislocating the index finger on his left hand in Game 2, underwent an MRI though Stotts had no update regarding the severity of the injury nor his availability for Game 5.

Portland was lead by Jusuf Nurkic, who finished with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 13 rebonds, four assists. and a steal in 27 minutes. He was the only Trail Blazer to score in double figures in the first half.

CJ McCollum had 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes. Carmelo Anthony went 6-of-25 for 16 points and Gary Trent Jr. scored 13 points off the bench in 34 minutes.

Lillard, Hassan Whiteside, and Mario Hezonja all contributed 11 points and Wenyen Gabriel added 10.

LeBron James led all scored with 30 points on 10-of-12 shooting to go with 10 assists and six rebounds in 28 minutes. Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma each finished with 18 points.

The Trail Blazers will now need to regroup, perhaps without their best player and leader, to face the Lakers in an elimination game Wednesday night.

“We’re down 1-3, it’s a tough position against a good team,” said Stotts. “We’ll regroup, it’s one game at a time. You can break out all the cliches, but we know what we’re up against when you’re down to a good team 3-1. So we’ve got to battle.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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