Lakers News: Latest Comments from LeBron James, Top Stars Before Blazers Game 2August 20, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James wasn't ready to sound the alarm bells after the team's 100-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday.
James, who recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, praised the Blazers' Damian Lillard after his 34-point outburst to lead all players.
"He makes big shots, he takes big shots. Commend him for that," James told reporters. "The 'Melo three, that was a breakdown as well, we didn't get the rotation correct. And same with the Gary Trent shot. We were slow on the rotation. So that's things we can control."
The four-time NBA MVP was focused on getting into the film room to correct mistakes ahead of Thursday night's Game 2, though.
"We didn't take care of business, but we got another opportunity on Thursday to even the series and that's my only mindset," he said. "I'm gonna go back to the hotel, watch some film tonight, lock in with the team tomorrow, prepare before the game on Thursday and get ready to play."
All of the concerns raised about the Lakers' depth came to light. Anthony Davis added 28 points, but the team's secondary contributors combined for just 42 points, and L.A. shot 35.1 percent from the field, including 15.6 percent from three-point range.
Davis told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes the Lakers must knock down open shots starting in Game 2.
"We have to make sure that when the ball comes to us, we take our time and knock down the shot," he said. "That's the only way we're going to clear that paint. Guys are sinking in the paint and daring us to make shots, and right now we're not doing that. It's just making it tough on everybody."
He added: "We're not panicking. We're going to figure this thing out. Our shots will start to fall."
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel agreed with Davis' assessment.
"Remain patient," Vogel said. "Trust the percentages, law of averages and continue to work with our guys on identifying the right shots and remaining calm."
Meanwhile, the Blazers are one of the most talented No. 8 seeds in NBA playoff history.
The trio of Lillard, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony combined with a strong frontcourt rotation of Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside and Zach Collins—who missed Game 1 with an ankle injury—makes their Game 1 win more substantial than a typical long-shot underdog picking up a victory over a dominant top seed.
Lillard knows there's still a lot of work to do heading into Game 2, however.
"Every game since we've been here has been a playoff game. So that prepared us for a game like this," he told reporters. "It's only one win. I'm happy to be here competing in the playoffs again, but we've got to move on to the next one."
NBA teams that led a playoff series 2-0 have gone on to win the series 93.5 percent of the time, per Land of Basketball. So the stakes for Thursday night's clash are clear.
Tip off for Game 2 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN following the 2020 NBA draft lottery.