NBA: Portland spoils LeBron’s Lakers debut

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after
scoring against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center.
Jaime Valdez, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 49 points, and Nik
Stauskas matched his career high with 24 points in his first
appearance in a Portland uniform, leading the Trail Blazers
past the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, 128-119, Thursday night
in the season opener for both teams.

LeBron James collected 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists
in his first game as a Laker. Los Angeles shot 48.4 percent
from the field but was only 7 of 30 on 3-point attempts. Josh
Hart had 20 points for the Lakers, who got 13 points and 11
assists from Rajon Rondo in his team debut.

Lillard scored 28 points, McCollum chipped in 21 points, and
Jusuf Nuric added 16 points and nine rebounds in just 17
minutes for the Trail Blazers. Portland won its home opener for
an NBA-record 18th straight time and ran its streak of
consecutive victories over the Lakers to 16 dating to 2013.

Staukas bombed in 16 points, Lillard added 13 points and Nurkic
contributed 12 points and six rebounds as Portland took a 65-63
advantage into halftime. James had 18 points and seven boards
at the break for the Lakers, who shot 53.1 percent from the
field despite going 0-for-12 from 3-point range.

Portland stoked its lead to 79-72 midway through the third
quarter. The Lakers scored six in a row to draw within 79-78.
Portland’s advantage was 93-91 heading into the final period.

The Lakers were still within 109-104 with six minutes left, but
McCollum sank an 18-footer and followed with a 3-pointer to
make it 114-104. The Lakers got to within 124-119 in the final
minute, but Stauskas sealed the outcome with two late free
throws.

With James scoring 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting — including
back-to-back dunks — the Lakers mounted a 25-15 lead early.
The Blazers went on a 9-0 run to take a 31-29 advantage and
carried a 34-31 edge into the second quarter.

Stauskas came off the bench to knock down six consecutive shots
— four from 3-point range — and score 16 points in six
minutes, staking Portland to a 50-40 lead.

The Lakers, with James on the sideline due to three fouls,
battled back to tie the game at 61-61 late in the second
quarter.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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