Boy, did the Blazers need a win. The past week had seen them lose in depressing fashion three different ways, so this was a gut-check night. The upstart LA Lakers came to town for a nationally televised game, and though things got dicey in the second half, the Blazers pulled out that much needed victory, finally getting the ball to drop their way in the final moments. Dame Lillard hit a thrilling step-back three with .7 seconds left on the clock to clinch it, 113-100.
Whenever the Lakers play in Portland the stands fill up with a disturbingly large contingent of LA fans. All eyes were on their much heralded rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, but he turned in a stinker of a game, scoring zero points on only 2 shots. The big news for the Blazers was that Jusuf Nurkic came to rumble, notching 29 points and finally acting like the beast we all hoped he would be.
The first quarter was all Blazers as they torched LA for a 16 point lead, but in what is becoming a disturbing trend, they slowed way down in the second quarter and only led by four at the half. Things would get worse in the third quarter, but first let's look at what the fans were wearing out in the hallways during the break:
A snappy couple:
This guy said he was a Sonics fan, but had been holding on to this old Clyde Drexler jersey for the right moment:
These two showed Blazer pride:
One of the many Lakers fans in attendance. This guy is from LA, but now lives here in Portland. Switch teams, dude!
I don't know why people wear Warriors gear to games when the Warriors aren't playing. But at least it wasn't Lakers gear like his pal:
So as I mentioned, the third quarter was a rough one for the Blazers as Jusuf Nurkic got in foul trouble and the youngster from LA caught fire. Rookie Kyle Kuzma showed why he has superstar potential while Veteran center Brooke Lopez scored at will. The Blazers lead shrunk down to two points going into the forth quarter.
That final period was a brawl. The lead went back and forth and the pesky Laker fans wouldn't shut up. Eventually the score stood tied at 110 with 10 seconds remaining. The ball went to Damian Lillard and he did what he does best. He nailed a deep three and won the game. The crowd went nuts. Sweet, sweet victory at last. Here's Dame taking that fateful shot:
Afterwards the locker room was bumping, loud hip-hop music emanating from the showers. Gillard and Turkic took questions from the press and all the other players bolted for the exits, eager to start a rare two day break before their next game on Sunday. On the way out I caught a glimpse of Jusuf Nurkic's hot new ride. It was pretty easy to identify.