Courtesy of the Portland Trail Blazers' 100-93 Game 1 upset win over the Los Angeles Lakers, for the first time in the NBA since seeding began in 1983-84 playoffs, the top seeds in both Conferences dropped Game 1 of their first-round series.
All-Star Damian Lillard led from the front, as he has all through this season restart in Orlando. He started off hot, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and then turned it on late, scoring or assisting on 14 of the team's game-sealing 22-9 run over the final eight minutes of the game.
At the final horn, Lillard finished with 34 points, five rebounds, five assists and was a game-high plus-19 in his 44 minutes of action. Despite the enormity of what the team had achieved in defeating the Conference's top seed in Game 1, Lillard knew it was a race to four wins, and not one.
"We know it's only going to get harder from here," Lillard said postgame. "It's just one game."
"We also know that it's only going to get harder from here."@Dame_Lillard after Portland's big Game 1 win against LA. pic.twitter.com/fJE9XvUE56- NBA TV (@NBATV) August 19, 2020
And he wasn't the only Trail Blazer to have this mentality.
"I thought we did a lot of things well," said CJ McCollum during his oncourt postgame interview. "We still got to tighten up defensively, in transition. Offensively, I thought we were pretty sharp but we got to get better and continue to do more if we want to get out of this series."
By restricting the Lakers to only 93 points, the Trail Blazers, who allowed an average of 123.4 points during the seeding games, held an opponent to under 100 points for the first time since Jan. 7th.
Part of that, however, could be the Lakers' offensive struggles especially from beyond the arc and that's why McCollum, who scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, mentioned needing to 'tighten up defensively'.
MORE: Takeaways from Game 1 of Lakers-Blazers
Los Angeles shot 5-of-32 (15.6%) from 3-point land, the worst in NBA playoff history by any team with more than 30 attempts. Despite that stat, the Lakers weren't phased and their All-Star duo voiced that postgame.
"We'll be fine," Anthony Davis said postgame. The Brow was the team's top scorer with 28 points to go along with his 11 rebounds but he was a minus-20 in his 39 minutes of action.
"We continue to shoot the ball with confidence and try to work the kinks out from the 3-point line and then, we'll be fine."
LeBron James, on the other hand, was arguably the best player from either team in this game. He became the first player in NBA playoff history to have at least 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists in a game.
.@KingJames (23 PTS, 17 REB, 16 AST) becomes the first player in @NBAHistory to record 20+ PTS, 15+ REB, and 15+ AST in a playoff game. #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/Cll1RKVcY0- NBA (@NBA) August 19, 2020
More importantly, despite playing 41 minutes, he was only a minus-3 while the rest of the Lakers' starters averaged a minus-16.8.
"No frustration," James said postgame when asked if it was frustrating to lose after a historic performance like his. Instead, he talked about his mindset for Game 2 a couple of days later.
"We came in with a mindset to win. We didn't take care of business but we got another opportunity on Thursday to even the series and that's my only mindset. I'm going to go back to the hotel, watch film tonight, lock in with the team tomorrow, and then prepare again on Thursday before the game and get ready to play."
Despite the Game 1 win and all the momentum that the Trail Blazers carry, the Lakers' win probability for Game 2 is still at 73% as per FiveThirtyEight's NBA Predictions model.
The Lakers will look for the series-levelling victory in Game 2 on Friday.
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