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The Lakers Blew A 7-Point Lead In The Final Two Minutes To Dame Lillard And The Blazers

The Lakers looked like they would finally get their first win of the season on Sunday afternoon in L.A. as they took a 102-95 lead on Portland with just under two minutes to play, led by a 31-point, 8-rebound, 8-assist game by LeBron James and 22 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks from Anthony Davis.

However, poor shooting and some defensive lapses let the Blazers claw their way back into the game, cutting the lead to just one with 36 seconds to play. It was then that the narrative machine really kicked into overdrive and gave us everything we could possibly dream of in a Lakers collapse.

First, it was Russell Westbrook pulling a 2-for-1 midrange jumper that wasn’t even close, as the Blazers were proven right to effectively ignore him defensively in crunch time.

Patrick Beverley then tried to grift the ball back to the Lakers by flopping on a Jusuf Nurkic screen at midcourt, which got overturned on review with Ed Malloy noting “Beverley took a dive.”

Naturally, on the ensuing Blazers possession Damian Lillard, who had 41 points to lead all scorers and all-but single-handedly kept Portland in the game, drilled a stepback three to push Portland into a 104-102 lead.

However, on the Lakers next possession, Nurkic for some reason switched onto LeBron, chased him out to midcourt, allowing James to just turn the corner and walk to the rim for a game-tying dunk.

That meant it was Portland’s turn to draw one up and, instead of going to Lillard who had the Lakers’ full attention, they got the ball to Jerami Grant in the mid-post and he drove past LeBron, squeezed by a late contest at the rim from Davis, and laid it in for the go-ahead bucket.

LeBron would get off a decent turnaround look to force overtime, but it clanged off the rim as the Blazers escaped L.A. with the win, moving them to 3-0 on the young season while the Lakers dropped to 0-3.

After losing to two title contenders, this was the game that felt the most like a reasonable litmus test for the Lakers. For a long time in the second half, it looked like they might take care of business and at least quiet some of the noise, but then they absolutely collapsed in a manner that only adds fuel to the fire. It had everything talk shows could want, with Westbrook’s brick from the midrange on a day he was 4-of-15 from the field, followed by their inability to get a stop late after playing great defense all day, Davis disappearing down the stretch from the offense, and LeBron not being able to carry them to overtime. Shooting woes continued for the third straight game, with L.A. shooting 6-of-33 from three-point range, while they were again outrebounded 52-40 (a product of throwing up a lot of missed shots), and saw Lillard go off for 41 points.

For Portland, it’s another gutty win in Lillard’s second straight huge offensive outing, and, while everything isn’t perfect, every win you can stack early in the season against a competitor for those hotly contested West playoff spots is going to come in handy late in the season.