The Lakers came back for vengeance in a 111-88 Game 2 victory over the Portland Trailblazers. All the premature doubt surrounding the Lakers championship hopes after the Game 1 loss is laid to rest.
The most significant difference from Anthony Davis Game 1’s tough shooting night is that he stayed aggressive and trusted his shot, says Vogel. Anthony Davis led the way with 31 points and 11 rebounds. He became the first Laker player and fifth player in the shot clock era to record at least 30 points and ten rebounds in fewer than 30 minutes played.
Davis mentioned he put pressure on himself. “I came out with the mindset tonight to be aggressive, help my team on both ends of the floor, and do whatever I have to do to help us get the win.” He said they have to stay locked in and come out to play with a sense of desperation and urgency.
Davis’ routine did not change coming into this after struggling in Game 1. He noted Lebron James did not say one word to him but understood he was focused because he saw that look in his eye. “You never want to go down 0-2 in a series,” says Davis. “It was a must-win game for us, and we played that way. To be able to hold that team to 88 points that played extremely well in the bubble, off the ratings, off the charts. It’s great for our team and our defense, but it’s still one game.”
Lakers don’t view the Blazers as underdogs, says head coach Frank Vogel. Portland was held under 20 points in the first and third quarters, and Vogel expressed that it’s hard to do. “This team was in the Conference Finals last year. We have tremendous, tremendous, respect for the offensive firepower of the team we’re playing, Vogel states. He infers that this series is going to be difficult for them to win.
The Blazers were stifled defensively by the Lakers the entire game, and they were down as much as 30 points. The Lakers never took their foot off the gas, and it didn’t help that Damian Lillard left the game at the end of the third quarter with a dislocated finger. Lebron James said their defense always fuels their break and offense when they are able to get multiple stops in a row, and that’s when they are at their best. “Sometimes, your defense energizes your offense. We knew we had not to have as many defensive laps and breakdowns coming into this game, no matter the score.”
On the offensive end in Game 2, James did not have to do much. He finished with ten points, seven rebounds, and six assists. “To get it to the hot man, A.D., and let us run the offense through him is a luxury for me, luxury for our team. I play no pressure basketball. Tonight didn’t call for me to do much.” With that said, James said you couldn’t pressure the Blazers either. James said, “Defensively, you can’t pressure them because they live under pressure and succeed under pressure.”
James acknowledged he played with some great players in his career. He said Davis is one of those unicorns. “He’s done some things that some of my other great teammates aren’t capable of doing, in the same sense I’ve played with Dwayne Wade, he can do some things that A.D. is not capable of doing. I’ve also played with Kyrie Irving, and he can do some things that A.D. is not capable of doing. I’ve had the luxury of playing with some great players.”
During James’s post-game interview, he asked about the Malcolm X book he was reading that he posted on Instagram and gave some encouraging words for the Black community. “How powerful we are, we have to unite. We have to be together. We have to stand strong. There’s always going to be obstacles, always going to be things thrown at us to weaken us to make us feel like we’re not Kings and Queens.” He stated Malcolm X was a powerful minded individual.
The series is tied 1-1, and Game 3 will be on Saturday at 5:30 pm.