James, Davis power Lakers past Blazers for 2-1 lead
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — LeBron James had 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Anthony Davis scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-108 on Saturday night for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.
The Lakers shut down the high-scoring Blazers for the second straight game after the No. 1 seed was knocked off in Game 1. This was Portland’s highest-scoring performance in the series and it wasn’t close to good enough.
Damian Lillard scored 34 points despite a dislocated left index finger and CJ McCollum added 28 for the Trail Blazers. They will try to even the series in Game 4 on Monday.
Portland was down only three with about 9 1/2 minutes left. But Davis then re-entered and started scoring from everywhere, turning lob passes into dunks or stepping outside for jumpers.
The Lakers’ defense handled the rest, limiting the Blazers to just three field goals over more than seven minutes as they pushed the lead to 109-98 with a little more than 2 minutes to go.
Carmelo Anthony added 20 points in his first good game of the series. He was 4 for 17 in the first two games and he started Game 3 with seven straight misses before making his eighth — by tipping in his own miss.
The Blazers made a lineup change, inserting Hassan Whiteside to play alongside Jusuf Nurkic in a big starting five. The unit got Portland off to a good start and the Blazers nursed the early lead all the way through the second quarter without ever really stopping James, who was 5 for 6 for 15 points in eight minutes in the period. But McCollum capped his 13-point period with a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer, making it 57-53.
James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 12 straight points to send the Lakers from six down to a 70-64 lead. The Blazers came right back behind Anthony, who made three straight jumpers before a dunk on the break tied it at 72.
The Lakers surged back ahead with a 10-0 burst that made it 89-78 and they led by seven entering the fourth.
Lakers: Caldwell-Pope had 13 points. … Davis missed four of his five free throw attempts in the opening minutes and finished 7 for 14.
Trail Blazers: Nurkic scored 10 points. … The Blazers were outrebounded 55-38.
Portland coach Terry Stotts said Zach Collins (left ankle stress reaction) was still in the bubble but didn’t know for how long. The forward separated his left shoulder in October but returned to play in the seeding and play-in games before having to be shut down because of the ankle.
“As much as we miss him, I just feel bad for him because he had put so much work into being ready for this,” Stotts said. “And because of the hiatus it gave him the opportunity to play this season, which we weren’t sure he was going to be able to have if there was no hiatus. So it looked like things were lining up well for him so it’s really disappointing for him.”
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