Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers Game Recap: Cohesion Is the Game

If the Blazers were supposed to be the key test in the West, it seems the Lakers will have a clear path to the Finals.

Undefeated at 7-0, the Lakers kept their opponent under 100 for the second time this season. An unlikely triple-double emerged from our towering center, Pau Gasol, who ended his night early with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in only 31 minutes of playing time.

Equally impressive was Lamar Odom, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double in seven games.

The Blazers struggled early, trailing by 13 in the first quarter, and unable to make much of a run throughout the night. Their star player, Brandon Roy, only had eight points, making one out of six field goals in 31 minutes.

The win could have been credited to the strong defensive plays by the Lakers tonight. Roy was clearly having a hard time with Ron playing very physically. Using his size to his advantage both defensively and offensively, Ron shut down Roy, much like Durant in the playoffs. Camby and Aldridge were both limited in scoring by the long arms of Odom and Gasol packing the paint to prevent any easy shots.

But it seems the root of tonight’s story goes deeper than just defensive stops. It was a story of teamwork.

1:15 left in the third quarter, Steve Blake steals the ball from Wesley Matthews. He dashes down the empty court, for what seems to be an easy layup. It was an off-the-glass pass to Pau, who slammed it home for his 20th point.

Most players would love to take credit for those transition points, and even do some show-boating, but not Blake. In his act of complete selflessness, Blake would not even step on the pedestal, but handed the ball over to Pau. Our players want to play basketball.

No longer does Kobe have to attempt 20+ shots a game, or feel the need to rack up 81 points because his teammates just can’t get into it...

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