LeBron James, Anthony Davis Lead Lakers to Win over Carmelo Anthony's Blazers

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 7, 2019

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 6: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers on December 6, 2019 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 13th game in 14 tries as they defeated the host Portland Trail Blazers 136-113 on Friday at Moda Center.

Anthony Davis led the way with 39 points and nine rebounds, and LeBron James posted 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 29 points in defeat.

Portland suffered a significant blow when Rodney Hood suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon. Hood entered the game averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

For the Lakers, point guard Rajon Rondo exited with a left hamstring strain and did not return.

The 20-3 Lakers kept pace with the Milwaukee Bucks for the league's best record and have now opened up a 3.5-game advantage over the Dallas Mavericks for first in the Western Conference.

The Blazers fell to 9-14 with the loss, but the team has played far better of late by virtue of a 4-1 mark in their five games leading into the Lakers contest.


Notable Performances

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis: 39 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals

Lakers G/F LeBron James: 31 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds

Lakers F Kyle Kuzma: 15 points, 6 rebounds

Blazers PG Damian Lillard: 29 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds

Blazers C Hassan Whiteside: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals

Blazers F Carmelo Anthony: 15 points, 3 steals


Anthony Davis Slides into the MVP Discussion After Dominant Performance

Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis looks destined for a host of individual accolades by season's end, with an All-NBA First Team placement and Defensive Player of the Year honors both possibilities.

Perhaps an MVP award should at least be in the discussion after Friday, in which Davis dominated on both ends.

On offense, Davis led all scorers with 39 points but did so at an efficient clip, shooting 12-of-20 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free-throw line.

He also knocked down a pair of three-pointers for good measure, including one that resulted in a four-point play.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Big man with the 4-point play. Is there anything @AntDavis23 can’t do? (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/l1PrtRcPAc

Davis' offensive versatility shined Friday, ranging from his work on pick-and-rolls and the fast break to individual post-up moves down low:


Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

@SpectrumSN AD already piling up these oops ✈️✈️ (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/VuCpMKa7ri

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

That spin move comes at you fast 😵 https://t.co/Y5PTf9fDDq

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Some early screen-and-roll action between the King and the Brow 👑✖️〰️ (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/TsWCfBtLPR

Lakers reporter Mike Trudell offered his praise:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

AD is showing it all tonight. After a beautiful lefty hook on the baseline, he nailed an and-1 corner 3, before being mobbed by his teammates as he fell into the bench. He has 23 points on … 11 FGA’s. LAL up 66-51.

On defense, Davis amassed three blocks and two steals and helped the Lakers dominate the glass. His efforts only continue the Defensive Player of the Year conversation of late, with Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer notably giving his early vote to the big man on Dec. 4.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves to be the MVP front-runner based on his individual performance (No. 1 with a 33.9 player efficiency rating) and his team's success (20-3 record, tied for the league's best with the Lakers).

However, Davis isn't that far behind, ranking fourth in PER (28.4) and win shares per 48 minutes (.271) entering Friday, per Basketball Reference. He's also helped the Lakers rebound from a 37-45 record last year, and now, the team is on pace for 71 wins.

Davis and the Lakers still have 59 regular-season games to play, but it's difficult to keep The Brow out of the MVP discussion after watching him dominate Friday.


What's Next?

Both teams will be home Sunday evening.

The Blazers will host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9 p.m. ET, and the Lakers will return to Staples Center to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.