They weren’t moving without the ball, sharing the ball or talking on defense like they had been in the first half, and like they had in the past. What was entirely familiar was the Lakers’ third-quarter collapse. It’s happened many times this season, and they can’t seem to turn a corner on it.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night’s game.
1. D’Angelo Russell struggles from from deep against the Trail Blazers. He missed all eight three-point attempts in Portland last week and missed all seven three-point attempts against Portland on Tuesday night. While his shot wasn’t falling, Walton still generally liked how Russell played.
2. One thing to avoid overreacting to in any sport is an apparent argument between a coach and player. Brandon Ingram and Walton had an exchange during the second half in which they seemed to be yelling at each other. They might have been — arenas can get loud, but the gist of their conversation was about ball movement. Walton told Ingram to move it, and Ingram said nobody was getting open. Walton told Ingram then that it’s his job as the point guard in that lineup to tell guys to get open.
3. D’Angelo Russell downplayed the confrontation he had that led to a double technical foul for both him and Damian Lillard. But Lillard did not downplay it.
“Since last game he’s been throwing little slick elbows,” Lillard said. “I play the game clean. I’m from Oakland, I ain’t with that extra stuff. Nobody can just do what they want to me. I got called for a foul to start the third quarter for reaching in but when I reached in, the only reason there was contact was his elbow came up again. After he blocked my shot I was walking to my spot and I felt like he went out of his way to get that elbow in there again. I told him that ain't gonna fly. I wasn’t interested in anything else that was said after that. We ain’t gonna do it on the court. We’ll be in the back and whatever happens happens. It was nothing. He poked the bear and you see what happened the rest of the game.”
Lillard only had two points at halftime, and scored 18 in the second half.
4. Walton said the Lakers went into a mode of trying to do everything by themselves in the third quarter. That makes more sense when trying to make up a deficit, but the Lakers were right on pace with Portland early in the third quarter.
5. Around 11:30 p.m., the Trail Blazers bus still sat outside Staples Center waiting for word from the NBA on when they could leave. A snowstorm in Portland delayed their departure, then they flew from LAX to Seattle. As of Tuesday night, the Trail Blazers were scheduled to play the Cavaliers on Wednesday night in Portland.