Game one of a seven-game series can often be deceiving. Hot-take artists will get their licks in. Morning TV will debate whether or not a team should press the “panic button.”
Most of the time the reaction isn’t justified.
This time, it will be. We saw this for eight seeding games, and we saw it again in a game that actually mattered.
The Los Angeles Lakers clinched the first seed in the Western Conference Playoffs early on in the NBA Bubble, but this isn’t your ordinary post-season, and the Portland Trail Blazers aren’t your ordinary eighth seed.
Tuesday night, the Blazers came out and smacked the Lakers in the mouth. Simple as that.
Portland defeated LA 100-93 in a strange, sloppy game where niether team looked all that impressive. In a winning effort, the Blazers shot 39% from the field. The Lakers shot just 35%, including a 5-for-32 effort from three.
Those numbers will not be indicative of the entire series. Some nights, the shots don’t fall. But even a horrific shooting night by the Lakers isn’t totally the reason why the Blazers hold a 1-0 lead in this series.
As we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks, the Lakers have some serious depth issues. If the supporting cast around the two stars doesn’t step up, this team doesn’t have a chance at getting out of the western conference.