Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers over Lakers in 93-75 preseason win
The new look Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 93-75 in their first preseason game of the 2012-13 season in Ontario, Calif. Granted the Lakers would be without Dwight Howard and announced right before tip-off that Kobe Bryant would also sit out, the Blazers showcased their new toys Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard and played a overall good team effort.
Lillard admitted that he was nervous in the beginning going against All-Star and two-time NBA MVP point guard Steve Nash, he was shaky at first but as the game wore on he found his groove and had a great game for his first taste of NBA basketball and ended with 14 points, 5 rebounds and dished 7 assists, connected for a few threes and dimed some fancy passes (behind the back anyone?!).
It was nice to see LaMarcus Aldridge back on the court after undergoing hip surgery just before the end of last season and he was the go-to guy from the very beginning. We weren’t going to see much of him but in 24 minutes he got up 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a block but was just a bit rusty shooting 4-12 from the field. Nothing to really think twice about though.
Meyers Leonard had bright spots while fighting in the paint with Pau Gasol and showed he also has a pull up jump shot and can beat just about everyone down the court on defense, he came off the bench behind J.J. Hickson for 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Portland started the game smooth, on target and executed some pretty passes while learning each other’s role on offense. The Lakers wanted to keep pace too, Nash giving Lillard a good challenge and Metta World Peace being physical as usual. Aldridge was the main offensive man scoring 10 points in the first quarter, Lillard was shaky as expected and center Leonard’s first bucket was a sweet alley-oop dunk on the fast break.
Blazers were up 25-21 after one and once coach Terry Stotts put in his reserves the Lakers mounted a comeback and tied at 41 by halftime.
The second half was a good one for Lillard who connected for a three, hit the open man and didn’t let Nash get the best of him. The Blazers received points from everyone like Adam “Ammo” Morrison hitting some bombs and had a 73-62 lead after the third. The Lakers were now simply asking anyone on the court to score while Kobe and Howard looked on from the stands, a flood of pleads from the Ontario crowd who wanted to see the Black Mamba but it wasn’t going to happen.
The rest of the way was all reserves the whole way and earn their first win of a seven-game preseason schedule. Next up is against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Dunn/Getty Images and from blazersedge.com