LeBron James and Anthony Davis combine for 70 in Lakers’ latest road rout at Portland
NBA road trips can present grueling, hostile situations for some teams.
For these Lakers they are mostly fun and games.
On Friday night, the Lakers continued their stampede through the Northwest Division with a 136-113 win in Portland. They finished 3-0 on their trip with wins over the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and the Trail Blazers, and have won 11 consecutive road games.
Only two seasons in Lakers history have had longer road winning streaks — the 1972-73 season when the Lakers won 12 consecutive road games, and the 1971-72 season, when the Lakers won 16 road games in a row.
“We feel like we’re a good road team,” Anthony Davis said. “Obviously on the road you have to come together even more. Three tough environments to win in and we’re able to come in and take all three. But we have our mind set on something special.”
The Lakers share the best record in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, who routed the Clippers on Friday night. Both teams are 20-3.
Davis and LeBron James left the game with a little more than three minutes left, with Davis having scored 39 points — all in the first three quarters — and James having scored 31.
Teammates and coaches are already talking about Anthony Davis being the defensive player of the year.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 29 points. His coach, Terry Stotts, was ejected after protesting a foul called on Kent Bazemore when Davis went tumbling into the first row of courtside seats.
Davis grabbed his head, but replays didn’t appear to show contact. The Trail Blazers also finished the game without starting forward Rodney Hood, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the first quarter.
Portland entered the game having won four of five, but dropped to 9-14.
The Lakers’ defense was solid, but it was their offense that buried the Trail Blazers.
“Our offense is starting to catch up with our defense a little bit,” James said. “We knew at some point that the cohesiveness and the rhythm would start to get better and better. It’s been behind our defense for the majority of the season. Tonight it caught up with our defense and it gave us a good boost closing out the road trip.”
Davis led the charge. He scored 15 points in the first quarter, making five of six shots. On the other end of the court, Davis blocked two shots.
“Man, he’s just a beast,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Not just his energy, his production. Just getting it done on both ends of the floor. … He’s really doing it all.”
The Lakers sought to improve their three-point shooting this summer and showed the fruits of that effort Friday. In the first half, they made 61.9% of their shots and nine of 13 three-pointers. That helped create a 15-point cushion at halftime.
The Lakers return home to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday before leaving town again for a five-game trip that begins Wednesday and includes the Bucks.
“I’m just impressed with our guys’ level of energy and focus,” Vogel said. “To play on the road the way we’ve played is just impressive to me. … Three games in four nights, we didn’t have a shootaround, guys performed at a high level. Couldn’t be more happy with what we’re doing on the road.”
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