After suffering an upset loss in Game 1, the Los Angeles Angeles Lakers bounced back in Game 2, with a convincing 111-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anthony Davis led from the front, pouring in 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers leveled the series at 1-1, with their first playoff win since 2012.
Here are the key takeaways from Game 2:
Davis sets the tone
Anthony Davis shot just 8-of-24 from the field in Game 1, but today was a different story as the Lakers big man asserted his will from the jump.
He scored 11 points in the first quarter, with 16 of his 21 first-half points coming in the paint. He finished the game with 31 points on 11-of-21 from the field and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line in just 29 minutes of action.
I mean, how are you supposed to guard this?
Shot-fake, drive, spin, stepback 👀- NBA (@NBA) August 21, 2020
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/XUmzjluutj
Davis joined some elite company, becoming the first Lakers player to put up 30+ points in less than 30 minutes since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1987.
"He was just aggressive from the beginning of the game," James said of Davis. "He wasn't passive at all, looked for his shots. He did a great job of rebounding as well, got some put-backs."
Lakers clamp down on defence
The Lakers ranked third in the regular season in defensive rating but had yet to reach that level through the seeding games.
Against the Blazers' high-octane offence, which had averaged 123.4 points per game through the first 10 games of the restart, the Lakers held them to just 88 points on 34-of-85 (40%) from the field and 8-of-29 (27.6%) from the 3-point line.
Putting their size advantage and physicality to good use, the Lakers were disciplined cutting off driving lanes, contesting shots and forcing the Blazers into settling for tough jumpers.
They limited the Blazers' dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard (18 points) and CJ McCollum (13) to a combined 31 points.
AD with the block. 🖐️- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) August 21, 2020
Kuz with the shot. 👌 pic.twitter.com/pvku99TkKT
"We knew we had to not have as many defensive lapses," James said.
"When you have a defensive strategy you have to execute that strategy for 48 minutes and I think we did a great job of that tonight"
A quiet night for LeBron
LeBron recorded just 10 points, seven assists, and six rebounds in Game 2, playing just 27 minutes as Davis took centre stage for the Lakers.
It marked the first time since 2007 that James had scored 10 points or less in a playoff game, per Basketball Reference, with his teams previously 0-7 when he scores 15 or less in the postseason.
We're accustomed to seeing LeBron put up eye-popping numbers in every playoff game, but with a talent like Davis by his side, he can have nights like this and his team can still emerge victorious.
Lakers connect from beyond the arc
The Lakers had five players score in double figures in the win with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adding 16 points, J.R. Smith 11, and JaVale McGee 10.
After hitting just five 3-pointers in Game 1, they connected on 14-of-38 (36.8%) from beyond the arc, a new franchise record. Their previous was 13 in 2010, more indicative of their seven-year absence from the post-season.
KCP led the way, hitting 4-of-6 from deep, with seven different players hitting at least one triple.
"Just staying ready to shoot and keeping my confidence and mind where I need it to be." KCP talks post-game with @LakersReporter after going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. pic.twitter.com/85MFd5wWJu- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) August 21, 2020
Damian Lillard exited the game in the third quarter with 1:44 remaining and did not return after suffering a dislocated left index finger.
He underwent an X-Ray which returned negative, leaving no doubt he'll be back on the court for Game 3, telling reporters post-game "Oh I'm playing."
Damian Lillard appears to injure left index finger, heads back to locker room. pic.twitter.com/xZJvSx9QmO- NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) August 21, 2020
The Lakers will look to build some momentum from today's win when they take on the Blazers in Game 3, scheduled for Sunday, August 23 at 6:00 a.m. IST.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.