Shooting woes push Lakers to blowout loss against Trail Blazers

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers fell to another discouraging loss on Sunday night in a 97-81 blowout to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Lakers put together a shadow of their strong offensive outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves never holding the lead in the blowout defeat that resulted in their 12th straight loss to the Trail Blazers. Here a few takeaways from the loss: 

Shooting Struggles

Following a high-scoring affair against Minnesota, Los Angeles experienced the exact opposite against Portland. 

It was a slow first half with both teams having difficulty getting anything to go with each shooting 32.6 percent from the field while the Lakers finished with a season-low 32 points in the first two quarters of play. Jordan Clarkson was responsible for their only make from beyond the arc in nine total team attempts. 

Through the first 15 minutes of the game, Los Angeles had just 19 points on 29.6 percent shooting from the field. They were also blanked 8-0 in second-chance points while the Trail Blazers held a 7-1 edge in offensive rebounds. The Lakers also had no players in double figures with three made field goals being the highest amount for any player. 

These struggles persisted in the second half with Los Angeles falling behind as many as 26 points. In fact, they entered the fourth quarter with D’Angelo Russell‘s 18 points making him the only player with 10 or more points on the team.

In total, the Lakers finished with three players in double figures while shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from three point range. Portland also dominated the glass with a thoroughly commanding 61-42 edge, including a 12-1 advantage in offensive rebounds and 14-2 in second-chance points. 

“I thought they were going into the game looking to build off the second-half defensive effort against Minnesota,” head coach Luke Walton said. “I thought we had a good carry over but we just couldn’t make any shots. We had a couple of little runs but we just couldn’t get anything going.”

Third Quarter Troubles

With the Lakers trailing at the half, things began to get out of hand in the third quarter with the Trail Blazers using a 23-7 run to start the period to give them a commanding lead. 

A bulk of the production during that spurt came from All-Star guard Damian Lillard scoring 11 of 13 points in the quarter on 4-of-6 shooting including nailing three 3-pointers. 

Altogether, Portland strung together a highly efficient third quarter scoring 37 points while shooting 60 percent from the field, including knocking down 6-of-8 attempts from 3-point range. Los Angeles had entered Sunday’s game ranking 22nd in opponent’s points (26.5) allowed in the third quarter. 

“They just got a little hot,” said Julius Randle, who finished with four points and nine rebounds. “Guys made shots and we struggled all day offensively to make shots. It’s tough.”

Clarkson Takes A Steps Back

A game after a career-best performance, Clarkson took a significant dip in offensive production against the Trail Blazers scoring just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field with seven rebounds, and six assists. 

Clarkson had got off to a promising start scoring seven of Lakers’ first 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting. However, he played a huge part in the team’s shooting struggles while suffering a fifth metacarpal contusion on his right handed late in the second quarter that needed to be tapped up during halftime. 

There were clearly some personal struggles to adjust to the injury as he missed five of his six shots in the second half, including 11 of 12 attempts after the first quarter. Following the game, Clarkson indicated that the injury had been originally “jammed” more than a week ago, but downplayed it affecting his performance against Portland and its significance moving forward. 

“It’s different. It had no effect,” Clarkson said. “It was just missed shots today.”

Clarkson has been playing well since the All-Star break averaging 19.6 points while scoring in double figures in all but one game including notching his career high of 35 points against the Timberwolves last Friday. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.


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