PORTLAND – The Lakers traveled nearly 1,000 miles north eager to escape the demons that haunted them back home.
A season-opening clunker filled with little defense, confusion over the Princeton-style offense and sub-par free-throw shooting suddenly put Los Angeles on high alert on whether the Lakers’ so-called Super Team warranted the hype.
But as the Lakers discovered in their 116-106 loss Wednesday to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden, no amount amount of progress will assuage concerns until it better influences the bottom-line result. The Lakers opened the season with an 0-2 record for the second consecutive year under Coach Mike Brown. The Lakers also dropped their 17th game in the past 21 contests in Portland.
The Lakers looked more fluid and comfortable running their sets, resulting in multiple contributions from Dwight Howard (33 points, 14 rebounds), Kobe Bryant (30 points), Pau Gasol (16 points) and Metta World Peace (10 points). The Lakers also shot 50 percent from the field. But Portland nullified those efforts with double-digit performances from Nicolas Batum (26 points), Wesley Mathews (22) Damian Lillard (23), LaMarcus Aldridge (19), and J.J. Hickson (13). The Trial Blazers went 9 of 20 from three-point range. And the game soon broke away when Portland went on a 9-0 run en route to a 92-76 lead to end the third quarter.
After posting only nine points on 3 of 9 shooting and four assists in the Lakers’ debut Tuesday against Dallas, Nash fared even worse against Portland with two points on a 1 of 3 clip with four assists. He also missed the entire second half after suffering a lower contusion in left leg after colliding with Lillard.
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