Damian Lillard looked like the best player on the planet in Game 1 of this series, continuing his scorching-hot streak inside the NBA's bubble. The Trail Blazers escaped with a 100-93 win over the West's top-seeded Lakers behind hot shooting from beyond the arc, and a bit of luck as Los Angeles' shooting woes continued. Given how the Lakers have been shooting within the bubble, it isn't that surprising of a loss. However, this LeBron James-led squad was certainly not expected to lose Game 1 in the playoffs.
At some point the Lakers will break through the ceiling and begin to sink shots, and when that happens we'll know what this team really looks like. But until then, they will need to rely on their defense, and LeBron to carry this team past an offensively potent Trail Blazers squad.
How to Watch Lakers-Trail Blazers Game 2
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 20 | 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Disney Wide World of Sports -- Orlando, Florida
- TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
- Odds: Lakers -6.5 | Over/Under: 228.5
Lakers: Los Angeles desperately needs to figure out its rotation issue, because starting JaVale McGee in Game 1 certainly didn't work. He doesn't provide much offensively, especially considering he doesn't space the floor, which hinders LeBron's ability to get to the rim. Portland doesn't have anyone who can remotely stop James attacking the rim, and it should be a formula that the Lakers should be going to often. Instead, McGee is standing in the paint clogging up the lane and bringing L.A.'s offensive efficiency down. While Kyle Kuzma certainly didn't work in the starting lineup at the start of this season, he's proven in the bubble at least that he can provide more offensively than McGee and wouldn't just be taking up space. Perhaps Frank Vogel considers that change in Game 2.
Trail Blazers: The Blazers will again be without Zach Collins, who underwent an MRI on his left ankle, which revealed that he had Malleolar stress reaction, meaning he could also be out past Game 4. With him sidelined, that means will see more of Hassan Whiteside, and Portland could opt to do what it did in Game 1, which was play Whiteside next to Jusuf Nurkic. It's not an ideal lineup option offensively, but it matches up well with the Lakers size, and until L.A. starts hitting shots, making sure they match up size-wise is the best bet for the Blazers to steal another game.
This will likely be another close one -- unless the Lakers shooting finally gets back on track -- but I expect L.A. to pick up the pieces in a low scoring, ugly game. Pick: Lakers -6.5