Lakers defense locks down Portland, L.A. cruises to win to even series

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Portland had the best offense in the seeding games, a 122.5 offensive rating — the return of Jusuf Nurkic and his passing (and scoring) opened everything up again.

The Lakers have closed it all down.

Portland scored 88 points — and that is with a 30-point fourth quarter when the game was already in garbage time — and had a 91.7 offensive rating in Game 2 Thursday. The Lakers pressured Damian Lillard out high but were also sharp with their rotations — and arrived with determination when they did rotate.

The Lakers also shot better — 14-of-38 from three, 36.8% — and they cruised to a 111-88 win in Game 2. Game three is Saturday.

Portland likely will have Lillard in Game 3, Lillard said postgame he is playing. He left Game 2 after dislocating his left index finger trying to steal the ball from Anthony Davis.

The Lakers came out in Game 2 with a focus, not only on the defensive end but to attack the rim on offense, shooting 9-of-11 in the restricted area in the quarter.

Nobody was as aggressive or asserted themselves more than Anthony Davis, who played with a kind of aggressiveness that made him unstoppable. Davis struggled inside in Game 1 — because of the size and physicality of Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside — but he came out in Game 2 and did not settle, he attacked. The Lakers were back to playing big and it worked.

The Lakers got 31 from Davis and 16 from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who played much better. LeBron had 10 points and reminded everyone he is a beast in the post when he sets up there.

It is now on Terry Stotts and the Portland staff to make adjustments — but they don’t have answers for LeBron and Davis. Nobody does. That’s why the Lakers are contenders.

That and when they use their length on defense they lock good teams down.