THE Portland Trail Blazers need to clear its armory today if it wishes to steal Game 4 from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs at the NBA bubble in Lake Buena Vista, near Orlando, Florida.
A loss would push the Blazers to the edge, dropping them to a scary 3-1 hole in the Best-of-7 series.
A team thrown in that predicament against the Lakers, the West’s No. 1 seed, is almost a death sentence already.
Facing the Lakers, you contend with the NBA’s toughest 1-2 punch today in Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who undoubtedly has been the best basketball player on the planet for some time now.
In their series-grabbing victory in Game 3 on Sunday, Davis and James produced pulse-pounding points in contrasting fashion in another display of uncanny talent often seen from them.
Starved to just six points that obliquely propped up Portland’s ego-inflating 57-54 halftime lead, Davis disengaged from his double-teaming trappers that forced him to a mere 1-of-3 field goal shooting in the first half, scoring 23 points coming home and powering the Lakers’ to a 116-108 victory.
That earned Los Angeles a go-ahead 2-1 lead after Davis’s 29 points more than complemented James’s 38 points on an 11-of-18 field goal clip as the duo’s combined 67 points negated the 62 points of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Lillard shot 34 points to bounce back from his puny 18 points in Game 2 where he dislocated his left index finger. He immediately caught fire on Sunday, unloading 14 points in Portland’s 29-25 first quarter margin.
But in the end, Davis and James proved simply too much to contain.
Struggling with his free throw shooting, missing five in the first half, Davis turned from meek to monster in the second half, grabbing 11 rebounds for another double-double of 29-11 to mimic James’s own double-double of 38-12 on top of LeBron’s eight assists.
James also missed five of his 17 charities but he more than made up for it by burying four of his eight treys, giving Laker coach Frank Vogel a handsome 33-31 career playoff record.
Glad that I dodged the Kulafu on Sunday.