By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
The NBA season is a long season and the Lakers have reeled off two wins in a row after a four-game losing streak. They jumped out to a 20-point first quarter lead against Golden State at Staples. There was a bit of revenge in the air from the defeat the home team suffered on Jan 18 at Staples.
This time the Lakers rolled up a 41 point first quarter on the way to routing the Warriors 117-91. The team came out like gang-buster’s forcing 16 first half turnovers as they were making a statement.
They also had a season high 73 first half points resulting in a 29 point lead.
“Our starters played terrific they had a mind-set of taking care of business in the first quarter,” said Frank Vogel.
The team is 2-0 with the return of Dennis Schroder who had 12 points and six assists.
Nearly everyone got into the act as six players scored in double figures and Kantavious Caldwell-Pope and Marc Gasol had nine points each as they also had 18 fast break points.
“The communication and passing definitely were key,” Vogel added.
Newcomer Damian Jones had 8 points and 3 boards and two blocks in an eight-minutes during his Lakers debut. Including a big ally-oop pass from Schroder in the third period. The 25-year-old was a 2016 first-round pick of Golden State in 2016 and is a two NBA championship teams. He’s also spent time with Atlanta and Phoenix. He’s signed to a 10-day contract with L.A.
With a big lead James played just 24 minutes, the third lowest as a Laker.
The Lakers are 11-1 when holding opponents under 100 points. No one played more than 25 minutes.
Eric Paschall 18 and Stephen Curry 16 led the visitors.
LA vs. Portland–Dennis Schroder returned to start after missing 4 games due to COVID protocol. He controlled a lot of the offense and had nine first quarter points and finished with 23 on the night as the Lakers defeated the Trailblazers 102-93. He also went 9 for 9 from the stripe.
“He has the ability to get to the paint and get shots for others,” said coach Frank Vogel.
There was a difference in rhythm with Schroder on the floor everyone appeared to be better in sink. “Dennis gives us an added dimension,” said James. “He can set shooters up pretty well.”
The team got off to it’s usual slow start trailing by 11 at around the seven-minute mark. With just seconds left in the first quarter Portland’s Robert Covington shot an eight footer as the ball was headed up LeBron swatted it away as the buzzer sounded. The Portland bench erupted with displeasure calling for a goal-tend.
The replay was shown on the video screen after it showed no infraction the Blazers calmly went in their huddle in disbelief in what James had just done.
Montrezl Harrell added 17 and nine boards as he outscored the Portland bench (13). It was the fewest such points allowed by the team this season.
On the defensive end Lakers hands were active, they played with intense aggressive defense after the opening period.
Damion Lillard was lighting up the nets for 25 first half points but after halftime adjustment’s the Lakers sent different looks at the perennial All-star only had 11 in the second half. “Earlier in the game we didn’t execute [on Lillard] and we paid the price,” said James.
Lebron finished the night with 28 points.11 rebounds, 7 assists,4 steals. It was his 15 double-double of the season.
At this point in the season they have the top ranked defense (106 ppg).
Lakers @ Utah–The absence of Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder was so glaring in a lopsided loss on the road. It appeared no matter what they did there was no catching the Jazz as they piled on three-pointers in a 114-89 win over the Lakers.
Talen Horton-Tucker and Markieff Morris each started for the Lakers for a change of pace in line-up by coach Frank Vogel.