Lakers return after Kobe Bryant's death: LeBron's speech, Damian Lillard's explosion lead emotional night

The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 127-119, on Friday night, but basketball was secondary before, during and after the first game at Staples Center since the death of nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on Sunday. As expected, there were various tributes and musical performances throughout the game, with the entire night dedicated to the memory of Bryant and the other victims.

As for the game, the Trail Blazers were led by red-hot Damian Lillard, who continued his recent tear by scoring 48 points to go along with 10 assists and nine rebounds in the win. Big man Hassan Whiteside was also incredibly productive, notching 30 points on 13-for-14 shooting, plus 12 rebounds and five blocks. Anthony Davis was simply spectacular for the Lakers in the loss, scoring 18 points in the first quarter en route to 37 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks for the game. LeBron James, who gave a moving speech about Bryant before the game, put up 22 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

Here are some takeaways from an incredibly emotional night at Staples Center, and a recap of live updates below.

L.A. knows how to do a tribute

The stars came out to show their support for the victims of the tragedy, with Usher, cellist Ben Hong, Boyz II Men, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth all performing at various times during the night. The pregame video tribute was also incredibly well put together, touching on every aspect of Kobe's career and his relationship with his family.

It was clear that a lot of thought and planning went into the night, and the result was a moving and fitting tribute to one of the world's most famous athletes.

LeBron's speech was incredible

It's hard enough for anyone to speak about a fallen friend or relative, so it was incredibly impressive that LeBron James was able to be so coherent and eloquent during his pregame speech honoring Bryant. After putting his piece of paper aside to "speak from the heart," James delivered a four-minute monologue that hit on aspects of Bryant's career and life.

LeBron has had many memorable moments on the court during his career, but this ranks up there with his most impressive accomplishments.

'Dame time' is all the time

There is no hotter player in the NBA than Damian Lillard, and he proved it with a breathtaking performance on Friday. He hit shots from well beyond the 3-point line, scored at the rim and set up his teammates all night, but his 23-point third quarter turned the game in Portland's favor. Lillard has now scored 61, 47, 50 and 48 points in his last four games -- video game numbers. He also became the first payer in NBA history to put up at least 35 points, five assists, five rebounds and five 3-pointers in five straight games.

A.D. was everywhere

Anthony Davis played one of his best games in a Laker uniform, as he set the tone early with an 18-point first quarter and kept it going all night. Davis showed his versatility by scoring from all over the court, but it wasn't just his offense that was so impressive. He was all over the place defensively, communicating, switching onto perimeter players and erasing shots at the rim. Davis showed why, at 26 years old, the sky is the limit for the impact he can have on the court. After the game, Davis said he played as hard as he could because it's what Bryant would have wanted.

FRI 10:30 P
LAL -13, o232
LAL -13, O/U 232
Live updates
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@Lakers via Twitter
February 1, 2020, 6:52 AM

The Lakers fall short, but basketball was the last thing on anyone's mind tonight ...

fans chanting "Kobe" as they try to will the Lakers to a late comeback ...

Damian Lillard has taken over the night, 42 points in the game and 23 in the third quarter ... simply remarkable

Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa singing "See You Again" live at halftime ...

@Lakers via Twitter
February 1, 2020, 4:39 AM
@Lakers via Twitter
February 1, 2020, 4:19 AM

LeBron wearing a sweatband just below his left elbow, presumably in honor of Kobe ...

@Lakers via Twitter
February 1, 2020, 4:04 AM

Anthony Davis gets the first basket, a dunk, after intentional 24-second and 8-second violations to start the game ...

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