NBA: Lakers squander late lead in loss to Trail Blazers | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Lakers squander late lead in loss to Trail Blazers

/ 08:40 AM October 24, 2022

Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers NBA

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates as he points to his wrist after scoring a three-pot basket in the closing seconds of the game against Los Angeles Lakers at Crypto.com Arena on October 23, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – Damian Lillard scored 41 points and Jeremi Grant drove for a game-winning layup with three seconds left Sunday as the Portland Trail Blazers dealt the Los Angeles Lakers their third defeat to open the NBA season.

Portland erased an eight-point deficit in the final five minutes and emerged with a 106-104 triumph after Lakers superstar LeBron James missed at the buzzer.

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Russell Westbrook missed two late shots, Lillard draining three-pointers after each miss. That included Lillard’s step-back jump shot with 12.4 seconds remaining that put Portland up 104-102.

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James responded with a dunk to tie it up, but Grant powered past James to score against a helpless Anthony Davis in the paint.

Lillard scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter and connected on six of 13 three-point attempts.

The Lakers, meanwhile, hit just six three-pointers on 33 attempts as the shooting struggles that have dogged them early in their first season under coach Darvin Ham continued.

James finished with 31 points. Davis added 22 with 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Westbrook, under scrutiny after scoring just two points in a loss to the Clippers on Thursday, finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists.

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LeBron James Lakers NBA

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers backs up against Shaedon Sharpe #17 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half at Crypto.com Arena on October 23, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

After the game, James was quick to shut down questions from reporters he saw as soliciting criticism of Westbrook’s late-game decisions making.

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“I don’t like to lose,” James said. “I hate to lose, especially the way we had this game. Give credit to Portland.

“You guys can write about Russ … I’m not up here to do that.”

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TAGS: Damian Lillard, Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Portland Trail Blazers

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