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Lakers show no rhythm against Trail Blazers in return to playoffs

Portland Trail Blazers forward Wenyen Gabriel blocks a shot by Lakers guard Danny Green.
Portland Trail Blazers forward Wenyen Gabriel, right, blocks a shot by Lakers guard Danny Green during the first half on Tuesday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Lakers were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the bubble during the NBA’s eight seeding games. They were one of the poorest-shooting teams from the field and the three-point line when play resumed in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.

In eight bubble games, the Lakers were second-lowest scoring team (106.4), fourth -worst in field-goal percentage (43.8%) and the worst in three-point shooting (30.0%).

But they kept telling themselves all that would turn around when the playoffs started Tuesday night.

That was not the case — at all.

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The Lakers still aren’t scoring at a high rate, dropping a 100-93 game to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference best-of-seven playoffs series.

“Offensively, we’ve got to get back to ourselves and find our rhythm, pushing the pace and making open shots,” Danny Green said. “We got to get a couple of open ones and making open shots, myself included. But I’ve got to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble so I can keep a rhythm.”

The Lakers made 35.1% of their shots from the field and 15.6% from behind the arch, going five for 32 on three-pointers.

Frustration began to set in the more they missed.

“For sure,” said Green, who was four for 12 from the field and two for eight from three-point range while scoring 10 points. “We have so many threats that are capable. You just figure if one guy is off the other three will pick us up. But it seems as if that is the trend for us right now.

“We got to figure it out to not have everybody having no rhythm and that’s us getting back to ourselves and pushing the pace and swinging it and moving it. It seems since we’ve been in this bubble we haven’t been able to catch a rhythm.”

It doesn’t help the Lakers when starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope misses all nine of his shots, five of them three-pointers.

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Anthony Davis had 28 points on eight-for-24 shooting from the field.

Alex Carusomade only one of six from the field.

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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Lakers highlights.

“We’ve got shooters,” said Kyle Kuzma, who scored 14 points on five-for-14 shooting, going one for five from three-point range.

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“It’s all about bringing confidence. I think that coming out of the gate, first playoff game, a lot of jitters. Just on the team, not necessary jitters, but that anxiety and that rush to play. If we can just calm down, take our time, cause the shots are going to be there all series.”

The three-pointer Kuzma made to open the fourth quarter tied the score at 78-78.

Kuzma then made two free throws and followed that with a defensive rebound that he turned into a length-of-the-court layup.

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But that wasn’t enough for the Lakers.

They play Game 2 on Thursday, a night in which they hope to get their shooting confidence back.

“You got to erase, you got to erase your memory,” Kuzma said. “That’s part about being confident. If you miss 10 in a row or you make 10 in a row, you got to forget about them and you got to keep shooting them. I like to say you shoot until you get hot. I think we have that capability.”

Turner reported from Los Angeles.


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