Lakers appeared overwhelmed with Portland’s backcourt

It took only 14 seconds for the Portland Trail Blazers to indicate to the Lakers they could suffer a long night. Then, Portland guard Damian Lillard sank a 3-pointer that would mark just the beginning of a 30-point effort on 12-of-25 shooting and 13 assists en route to a Lakers’ 107-93 loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday at Staples Center.

When Lillard wasn’t carving up the Lakers’ interior defense with easy drives to the basket, Portland guard CJ McCollum was punishing the Lakers with 19 points on a 8-of-13 clip, including a 3-of-5 mark from 3-point range.

“We have to pick u the intensity,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “It’s not easy. It’s a five man defense. It can never be on an island by itself.”

Russell discovered that moments before the first quarter ended. He nearly forced a turnover on McCollum at halfcourt. But he picked up the ball. Lakers center Brandon Bass then failed to rotate. That left McCollum with a clear path for an uncontested layup.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and more frustrating things happened for the Lakers. After they cut a 10-point deficit to three with nearly three minutes to play, Lillard set up Mason Plumlee with an easy dunk off a pick-and-roll play. Following one of Kobe Bryant’s missed jumpers, Lillard grabbed the rebound and found Allen Crabbe in transition. All of a sudden, Portland held a seven-point lead and the eventual victory.

When he wasn’t facilitating, Lillard made the Lakers pay in other ways. He fired a quick trigger anytime he had an open shot. He quickly drove to the basket anytime he saw a sliver of space .

“He has a green light to shoot it anytime he wants,” Russell said of Lillard. “You always have to be on your toes.”

Yet, Lakers’ coach Byron Scott argued that Russell and Jordan Clarkson still did a “decent job.” Rarely did shots go uncontested. But rarely did that make a difference.

“When we laid back, they made shots,” Scott said. “When we tried to attack they were able to get to the bucket. It was one of those things where it was damn if you do, damn if you don’t.”


Lakers’ Byron Scott places poor ball movement not just on Kobe Bryant

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar addresses Lakers about poor start

Lakers’ defensive issues persist in 107-93 loss to Portland

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at