PORTLAND, Ore. — The Los Angeles Lakers come to Moda Center for a Thursday night game against the Portland Trail Blazers on a high after a 113-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Trail Blazers?
Not so much after a discouraging 112-103 overtime loss at Utah on Wednesday night, Portland’s third defeat in four games.
Nobody felt better about the Lakers’ rout of Detroit than former Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who collected 13 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.
“I feel good. My teammates feel good,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Now just got to carry it over and get ready for Portland.”
Forward Julius Randle led seven players scoring in double figures for the Lakers (3-4) with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting to go with seven rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
“Julius plays really hard,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “We need him to. That’s when he’s at his best. When he plays fast but under control, he’s pretty tough to deal with.”
The Lakers went into the Detroit game shooting only 30.6 percent from 3-point range, but they sank 12 of 26 shots from beyond the arc against the Pistons while also scoring 62 points in the paint.
Portland, meanwhile, is smarting after yielding a six-point lead in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter against the Jazz.
Damian Lillard piled up 33 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Blazers, but he missed a 3-pointer late in regulation that could have sealed a victory. Ricky Rubio then scored 11 of his 30 points in the final 2:14 of overtime to lead Utah to the win.
Offense has been a problem for the Blazers, who are shooting 42.4 percent from the field, which ranks 28th in the NBA. Portland (4-4) shot only 39.8 percent from the floor against the Jazz, making 9 of 34 shots from 3-point range, 26.5 percent.
“Our offense hasn’t been at the level we’d like it to be,” Lillard said. “When all this comes back around, it’s going to be a great day for us.”
Wednesday was a doubly bad day for the Blazers. Besides the defeat go the Jazz, Portland lost the services of starting power forward Al-Farouq “Chief” Aminu, who went down with a sprained right ankle early in the fourth quarter and did not return. Aminu was in a walking boot after the game and almost will surely not suit up against the Lakers.
“Chief is a huge part of our team,” Lillard said. “He does a lot of things that might not show up on the stat sheet, but he’s as big a part of our team as anybody. Now somebody else has to step up, and we’re going to have to figure out a way to get some wins.”
The starter Thursday night in Aminu’s place could be Noah Vonleh, who missed Portland’s first seven games with a shoulder injury. Vonleh returned to duty against the Jazz, collecting five points in 13 minutes off the bench.
The team’s other power forward, Meyers Leonard, is expected to be out for a month with a high ankle sprain.
Portland is 12-0 against the Lakers since March 3, 2014, and Lillard has scored 20 points in eight consecutive games against Los Angeles.Let's