The NBA Playoffs are well underway at this point, and there have already been some upsets along the way. One of the biggest upsets so far has taken place in the Western Conference.
The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers are taking on the 8th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, and this was a highly anticipated series coming in. Portland was ready to play from the opening tip and came away with a 100-93 victory in the series opener.
There is plenty of star power in this series, but the Lakers were considered to be the much better team. Portland was able to ride their star to a win in Game 1 and will be looking to do the same on Thursday night.
Los Angeles will be looking to even up the series by finding a way to make some shots in Game 2. The Lakers are still the favorites to win the series, but there is now some added pressure heading into this one.
The Los Angeles Lakers are 6.5-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Lillard Continues to Power Blazers
Damian Lillard was named the MVP of the restart in the bubble, and he did not slow down in the first game of the postseason. Lillard poured in 34 points in the series-opening win and continued to make clutch shots when his team needed it the most.
Portland has scored 115 points per game this season, so there is no denying that this team can score. Lillard has led the way, but some other players are performing exceptionally well for this team.
CJ McCollum had 21 points in the Game 1 victory, and Carmelo Anthony and Jusuf Nurkic played well. The Trail Blazers only got 14 points from their bench, and depth could be an issue as the series moves along.
Portland has allowed over 116 points per game this season, but their defense was sharp in the series opener. If the Trail Blazers continue to play well on both ends of the floor, they could be hard to beat.
Lakers Must Make Shots
If the Los Angeles Lakers are going to get back into this series, they will have to shoot the ball much better. The Lakers went just 5-32 from the three-point line in the series-opening loss, and those shooting numbers simply aren’t good enough.
LeBron James had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists in the loss on Tuesday night, but his teammates simply didn’t give him enough support. Anthony Davis contributed 28 points and 11 rebounds, but the Lakers need better play from their guards.
The Lakers also had 16 turnovers in the loss, and they were sloppy with the ball at times in this game. Los Angeles looked like a team that had some rest, but they are a team that can turn that around in a hurry.
Lakers Even Up the Series
Damian Lillard took over the game late in the series opener, but LeBron James will not let that happen again. The Lakers will clamp down on Lillard, and force other members of the Blazers to beat them.
Portland does have some solid options, especially on the offensive end, but they can’t win this game without more heroics from Lillard. The Lakers are the top seed in the Western Conference for a reason, which is on display today.
Look for LeBron James to take this game over late, and lead the Lakers to a victory in Game 2. Bet the Los Angeles Lakers -6.5 over the Portland Trail Blazers.