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With the 2021 NBA free-agent class quickly depleting, teams who hoarded cap space will have to pivot off their initial plans
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, and Paul George all extended or re-signed with their current teams which will lock them up for several years and takes them off the market headed into the 2021 NBA offseason.

You can say what you will about the length, value, and reasoning of the contracts, but the deals are done and they’re no longer changing situations.

This came as a shock to several franchises who had purposely been planning their salary sheets so that there was enough space to fit a max free agent, Giannis being the most important out of all of them with his standing in the league.

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So, if you’re the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, or Dallas Mavericks, three teams each with reported interest in the Greek Freak, what do you do now?

On top of that, teams like the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cleveland Cavaliers among others will find themselves naturally creating a large amount of cap space. But all this does is add more names to the NBA’s musical chairs game. Now there are fewer chairs to go around.

Here are some avenues the teams can pursue with their new situation:

NBA restricted free agency
While the upcoming unrestricted free agency class took a hit with the extensions, the restricted class definitely didn’t and there are a few names on the list who you can see will benefit greatly from these teams being flush with cash.

Going in descending order from their salary this year, you have: Lonzo Ball, Lauri Markkanen, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Cheap Zach Collins Jersey, Nicolo Melli, and then notable names from later in the draft include John Collins, Jarrett Allen, and Josh Hart.

Now the deal with restricted free agency is that if one of these players finds a contract elsewhere, the original team will have three days to decide whether they want to match the offer, keeping them on the team, or decline and let their young player walk. This tends to end in one of three ways; first, the player realizes there isn’t much of a market for their skills outside of the one situation or the player gets overpaid on an offer elsewhere and they end up overpaid on one of the two teams.

A good example of this in practice is when then-Portland Trail Blazer Cheap Allen Crabbe Jersey signed a four-year, $75 million offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets, a team that had nothing else to do with their cap space and wanted to take a flier on a young prospect. Portland matched the offer, bringing back their wing on what quickly became one of the least-desirable contracts in the league.

(Side note: the Nets eventually traded for Crabbe during the life of that contract. Never give up on your dreams kids).

Crabbe wasn’t worth the $75 million he was given and that makes sense now but at the time it was believable to think he could grow into a better player than he was in a bigger role. You had to squint really hard but yes, it was possible.

What’s to say one of these teams can’t look at Lonzo Ball, John Collins, or Lauri Markkanen and think there’s room for growth?

The only cause for concern is that if you’re going to pay them a large-enough contract for the initial team to decline, you’re making a bet on the player that they’ll grow into (and maybe beyond) it.

ESPN’s and The Hoop Collective’s Brian Windhorst reported that John Collins turned down a $90 million contract from the Atlanta Hawks with the idea that he deserves more.

Lonzo and the New Orleans Pelicans “remain positive” that the two can come to an agreement next offseason according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but if they’re so positive, how come it wasn’t done before the deadline?

And who knows what Markkanen thinks he’s worth as NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson says:

“[Chicago Bulls and Markkanen] were never close on a deal”.

Sign an NBA player that isn’t an MVP and DPOY
Due to the tampering rules, we don’t know for certain that Miami, Toronto, and Dallas all cleared their cap space to pursue two-time Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo since he’s on a different team. But we can pretty well assume they didn’t clear their space for DeMar DeRozan.

Assuming Kawhi Leonard, who has a player option for the 2021-22 season, stays with the LA Clippers in some capacity and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin pick up their options, the best players available are quickly deteriorating.

The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.

No. 29 | Damon Stoudamire
Games Played with Blazers: 529 Regular Season, 46 Postseason

*PTS: 12.8 | AST: 5.7 | FG%: 40.5% | 3PT%: 35.9%

*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland

Joined Club: February 1998, acquired from the Toronto Raptors with Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers for Kenny Anderson, Cheap Gary Trent Jersey, Cheap Alvin Williams Jersey, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick

Departed Club: August 2005, departed in free agency

Place in History: Damon Stoudamire was no secret coming out of Portland’s Wilson High School and the University of Arizona. After scoring 23 per game his senior year in college, he was more than ready for the limelight when the Toronto Raptors selected him 7th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft.

Stoudamire had confidence and speed to burn. If his Rookie of the Year award in 1995-96 hadn’t confirmed his legitimacy, his 20 points per game scoring average during his first three seasons in Toronto would have. At 5’10, this young, fearless point guard was taking the league by storm.

The bulk of his precipitation would not come in the form of Canadian snow, but pure Pacific Northwest rain. Having made his mark, proving that he belonged among the best NBA point guards, Stoudamire was ready to move back to Portland, taking his hometown Trail Blazers to new heights.

As 1997 turned to 1998, the Blazers had the exact same idea. Perhaps the most unusual thing about the deal was that everybody saw it coming. The Blazers had made moves for stars before, via the draft and in trade. They were rare, though, and invariably a surprise. In this case, mutual attraction between Stoudamire and Portland had been rumored since the start of the season. Given General Manager Bob Whitsitt’s ability to draw big names and a willingness to make deals, it seemed all too perfect. Within a period of weeks, local sports talk turned from, “Could we get Damon?” to, “When will we get him?”

As it turned out, the date was February 13th, 1998. Friday the 13th might as well have been Christmas for the Blazers as they traded Kenny Anderson, Gary Trent, and Alvin Williams (plus three draft picks) to the Raptors for Stoudamire, shooting small forward Walt Williams, and little-used Carlos Rogers.

The deal was, somewhat understandably, compared to the three-player, two-pick trade that had brought Cheap Kiki Vandeweghe Jersey to the Blazers more than a decade earlier. Except this time it was speculated the Blazers had paid less for a potentially amazing return.

That assessment wasn’t all wrong. Combined, Anderson, Trent, and the outgoing Williams had played 9559 minutes in Portland. Over the next 7.5 years, Stoudamire would play 17,497, good for 10th on the Blazers’ all-time list, behind only Cheap Terry Porter Jersey and Cheap Damian Lillard Jersey among point guards. The Blazers had found their man.

Despite the overwhelming hype that accompanied his entrance, it would take Stoudamire a while to find his footing. He scored 20 points only three times in Portland during the remainder of that season, having done it 25 times with the Raptors. Walt Williams actually fit better in the system at first. But Stoudamire notched seven double-digit assist games in 22 tries with his new team. Even though their playoffs run ended abruptly at the hands of the arch-nemesis Los Angeles Lakers, Stoudamire came through with strong performances of 17, 18, and 24 points in the final three games.

Though Stoudamire’s future looked—and was— bright, he would never return to the heady scoring days of his Toronto debut. Multiple factors conspired against it. His brilliance came as a drive-and-dish guard who could also pull up for mid-range shots. That style of offense is predicated on him controlling the ball, drawing in the defense, then scoring craftily or tossing to jump-shooting teammates. Playing alongside Isaiah Rider, Cheap Rasheed Wallace Jersey, and Cheap Arvydas Sabonis Jersey required a different approach. They weren’t going to wait on the wings for catch-and-shoots. They needed touches, lane space, and plenty of time with the rock. Adding Jim Jackson, Steve Smith, and Cheap Scottie Pippen Jersey in subsequent years wouldn’t change that story.

Stoudamire also played during a transitional period when the NBA began to value the three-pointer more. This was prior to the modern rule changes that would make point guards all but untouchable, though. Instead of finding an unhindered buffet of shots in the halfcourt, Stoudamire found his bread-and-butter drives decreasing as the demands on his somewhat-streaky long-range jumper increased.

This would hold true on the other end as well. Few point guards were quicker on their feet than Damon. When opponents put the ball on the floor, he could stay with them. As enemies began to pull up and shoot over him, though, his 5’10 height began to show. Few players improved their position defense as dramatically as Stoudamire did during his years in Portland. When he was young, defense seemed an afterthought. As a veteran, he was always in the right place at the right time, a true leader in that respect. He just didn’t have the wingspan to stop the new breed of NBA guards when they rose and fired.

With those limitations understood, Stoudamire was clearly one of the better point guards in a franchise known for them. When he found daylight, he could score from anywhere. Lacking daylight, he simply created it.

Notice the play-by-play call in this video, a chronicle of Stoudamire’s 20-32, 54-point performance against the New Orleans Hornets in 2005. This was late in his career, after he had already lost a bit of that famous speed (but none of the swagger). Listen to the announcer exclaim, “You’ve got to be kidding! What are we looking at here???” That’s the reaction Damon inspired.

Now imagine all those jumpers combined with the ability to get in the lane against anyone, anywhere. Stoudamire had all of that and more.

Because he was a famed scorer, Stoudamire’s playmaking ability sometimes goes underrated. He was a floor general. You’d have to be in order to even touch the ball in the company he kept. At different times, Greg Anthony, Jeff McInnis, and Nick Van Exel might have moved into his spot, while Pippen, Smith, Wallace, Cheap Zach Randolph Jersey, or Cheap Bonzi Wells Jersey could have dominated the action, making him irrelevant after the ball crossed the timeline. How many famous, long-term point guards played on LeBron James teams, or with Kobe and Shaq? Given the makeup of the team, Stoudamire could have become an asterisk in a second.

That seldom happened. Damon kept everyone fed. On his teams, the ball moved. To this day, he trails only Porter, Lillard, and Cheap Clyde Drexler Jersey in franchise assists. And he dished every one of them during the most chaotic, turbulent decade the Trail Blazers have ever experienced.

In the Summer of 2005, it became obvious that Stoudamire’s career would last longer than Portland’s ability to do anything with it. With his team desperately in need of restructuring, Stoudamire joined the Memphis Grizzlies. He’d play there for two and a half seasons, then sign with the San Antonio Spurs to complete his NBA run at the end of 2008. Thirteen years after that R.O.Y. season, Stoudamire was still the same player: capable, in control, crafty, and dangerous.

Cheap Damon Stoudamire Jersey run in Portland may not have been everything people dreamed of. He didn’t average 20. His teams didn’t win titles. He ran afoul of authorities and headlines for indulging in marijuana…then illegal, not so much now. [Here’s your official notice: from now on, we’re officially ignoring any supposed player “infractions” involving cannabis. It was commonplace in the league for legitimate and defensible reasons. You can buy it at your corner strip mall today. If that’s the only thing tarnishing a player’s reputation, we need to apologize to them, not for them.]

Despite all that, Stoudamire’s time in Portland was authentic, productive, and welcome. Both the Blazers and their fans were better off because he suited up for them.

For the long run, the dazzling high spots, the assists, and continued presence in Portland discussions while coaching on the left coast, Damon Stoudamire earns the 29th spot on our Trail Blazers Top 100 players and influencers list.

The top names on the list are DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Andre Drummond, Otto Porter Jr., Jrue Holiday (player option), Cheap LaMarcus Aldridge Jersey, Mike Conley, Victor Oladipo, Dennis Schroder, Evan Fournier, Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell (PO), Norman Powell (PO), and Lou Williams to name a few.

The only player on that list who’s under 30 and has “superstar potential” is Victor Oladipo, a player who has had his ups and downs with the Indiana Pacers so far. His 2020-21 campaign has gotten off to a great start so far and many are saying he’s back to the Oladipo we saw two seasons ago when he won the Most Improved Player award.

Imagining Victor alongside Luka Doncic in Dallas, Jimmy Butler in Miami and Pascal Siakam in Toronto (assuming the Raptors turns things around from their early-season struggles) is exciting.

But if one of these playoff teams with cap space miss out on Oladipo, where do they turn? Most of the other players are on the wrong side of 30 and if a team approaches one of the lesser free agents, they’re going to know that there’s the opportunity to offer them more money if they don’t want to overpay.

For example, I don’t believe Montrezl Harrell is worthy of a max contract. More than he’s on now with the Los Angeles Lakers, but not max-worthy. It’d be hard for one of these teams to offer him a lesser contract, especially since he spurned the Clippers for not offering him what he wanted.

Sit on your hands and don’t waste it
Just because a team wanted to sign (potentially) the best player in the world in Giannis, it doesn’t mean they have to still go out and spend the money.

We’re seeing just how threatening a good playoff team with cap space can be to the rest of the league. The Milwaukee Bucks overpaid on the trade market for Jrue Holiday in the eyes of some as a way to show Giannis how committed they are to winning and putting a contender around him.

Yes, in the case of Luka Doncic it’s now or never with an inevitable max extension coming to Luka in two years but in the case of Miami and Toronto, they can either go for a win-now move by signing one of the aging players, look to bolster their young talent on the restricted free agency market or wait and see what the trade market looks like a year from now. Nobody would’ve known James Harden was requesting a trade before he did.

And in the case of the cap space teams who aren’t in the playoff picture right now. When/if a superstar does request a trade, there’s the possibility of salary dumping, meaning a team can sit there and wait for the load up on bad money with the payment being assets.

NEXT: The Charlotte Hornets Were Right About Gordon Hayward
It’s not the end of the world for the 2021 free agency class but if I had to say anything, it’d be that some restricted free agents are about to see a whole lot of money thrown their way.

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As the Portland Trail Blazers look towards the NBA trade deadline, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report has suggested a few targets that the team could pursue to buttress their performance on the defensive end, add a second point guard, or increase offensive production, namely Kyle Anderson, George Hill, and Kevin Love.

The Blazers need defensive help, as a 113.2 rating has them at 24th overall.

Anderson would serve as both defender and playmaker in the frontcourt. The 27-year-old has improved the Memphis Grizzlies by 9.5 points per 100 possessions this season and is on a team-friendly two-year, $19.4 million remaining contract.

Hill gives the Blazers a veteran point guard off the bench to help move the ball and space the floor. He’s a win-now piece that should help limit the workload of Cheap Damian Lillard Jersey and Cheap CJ McCollum Jersey.

Love is the wild card here. While he does nothing for the Blazers defensively, he’d make Portland completely unstoppable on offense with his three-point shooting and outlet passing. The Blazers are just 23rd in rebounding, an area Love should continue to thrive in until the day he retires.

Meanwhile, Swartz suggests that the San Antonio Spurs should aim for CJ McCollum.

McCollum is enjoying a career year thus far (28.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals) and won’t come cheap if the Blazers were to move him.

He seems like a Cheap Gary Trent Jersey Spurs-esque player with his incredible skill level and mid-range game, however, as well as his basketball IQ.

He also says the Indiana Pacers should take a look at Cheap Anfernee Simons Jersey.

Simons is in his third year with the Portland Trail Blazers but is still only 21. He’s a 6’3” scoring guard who’s only averaging 10.4 minutes off the bench for the Blazers, buried behind their star guard duo. Stretch his stats over 36 minutes and he’s averaging 17.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and shooting 38.5 percent from three. He’s never going to be a great distributor, but he won’t need to be playing alongside Malcolm Brogdon and LeVert.

Swartz also states that Cheap Gary Trent Jr. Jersey would fit in well with the Detroit Pistons.

Some team needs to pluck Trent from the Portland Trail Blazers bench and put him in their starting lineup. The 21-year-old shooting guard is averaging a career-high 11.3 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting from three in his third season.

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The Portland Trail Blazers used a balanced attack to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-107 on Monday night to begin their four-game trip to California.

Damian Lillard led the way with 31 points, but there were other big performances as well, starting with Gary Trent Jr. scoring 28 points off the bench on 10 of 14 shooting overall and 7 of 11 shooting from three-point range. Cheap CJ McCollum Jersey added 20 points and 11 assists, while Jusuf Nurkic and Cheap Enes Kanter Jersey each finished with double-doubles. Nurkic had 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Kanter scored 12 points to go with 14 boards.

The Blazers (2-1) fell behind 30-22 after the first quarter, but Trent’s 16 points in the second quarter helped spark the Blazers to a 58-54 halftime lead. The Lakers (2-2) then closed the gap and led 85-84 heading to the fourth quarter, but Portland took control in the final period.

The teams shot similar percentages overall (Blazers 46.7%, Lakers 47.1%), but the Blazers hit 16 of 46 threes compared with the Lakers’ 10 of 27.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 29 points and also had nine rebounds and six assists. Dennis Schroder added 24 points, while Anthony Davis pitched in 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Here’s a recap of how the game unfolded.

NBA Staples Center, CA
FINAL
Portland
Trail Blazers
115-107
Los Angeles
Lakers

Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers
1 2 3 4
22 36 26 31
30 24 31 22
Total
115
107
Tue Dec 29 Status: Final
STATS
LIVE UPDATES RECAP

FINAL: TRAIL BLAZERS 115, LAKERS 107

— Lillard hits a layup. Dennis Schroder’s jumper is good, and the Blazers’ lead is 108-103. Lillard’s floater falls, and he’s fouled. He converts, and the Blazers go up 111-103 with 2:17 left. Montrezl Harrell scores inside, and it’s 111-105. The clock goes under 2 minutes. Nurkic drives past Davis for the layup. It’s 113-105 with 1:30 to go. LeBron James hits a couple of free throws, and it’s a 113-107 Blazers lead. It’s a Blazers shot-clock violation with 58.6 seconds left. The play is under review. And the call stands. Lakers ball with 59.5 seconds to go. James’ three is off. Nurkic secures the rebound. McCollum misses the three, but Nurkic taps it out. Nurkic hits the jumper, and the Blazers lead it 115-107 with 20 seconds to go. James’ three is short, and that will do it. The Blazers beat the Lakers 115-107 and improve to 2-1 on the season. L.A. falls to 2-2.

— Out of the timeout, the Lakers lose it out of bounds. After a Blazers miss, the Lakers lose it out of bounds again. McCollum short with his three-pointer. LeBron James hits a three, and the Lakers cut Portland’s lead to 98-94. An Enes Kanter miss from the lane. James drives and scores. Now under 6 minutes to play. Lillard’s three is short. Montrezl Harrell scores inside, plus he’s fouled. Timeout Blazers with 5:34 left. Harrell will get a free throw after the break. Harrell hits the free throw to put the Lakers up 99-98. But Jusuf Nurkic drives and scores to put the Blazers back up 100-99. Lillard fires from three with the shot clock running down, and he hits. The Blazers lead it 103-99. Nurkic rebounds a Lakers miss, and Lillard’s three is way short as the clock rolls under 4 minutes to play. Anthony Davis makes a layup. McCollum nails a three. The Blazers lead it 106-101 with 3:05 left. The Blazers take a timeout.

— LeBron James drives, misses the layup and thought he was fouled. No call, and he draws a technical foul. CJ McCollum ties the game at 85-85 on the technical free throw. The Lakers go back in front 87-85. Then a Cheap Gary Trent Jersey jumper ties it at 87-87. Trent hits a three to give the Blazers a 90-87 lead, but then James answers. Then Trent with another three. James fouled, and he splits the free throws to cut Portland’s lead to 93-91 with 8:34 to play in the game. Trent is on fire. He hits another three, this time from the right wing. He has 28 points for the game, and the Blazers are up 96-91 with 8:12 to go. Timeout Lakers.

END 3RD QUARTER: LAKERS 85, TRAIL BLAZERS 84

— Anthony Davis scores inside for the Lakers to make it 75-71. Enes Kanter with a baseline shot that’s good. Then Davis drives, scores and draws the foul on Kanter. Davis converts the three-point play to give L.A. a 78-73 lead with 3:24 left in the third. Rodney Hood nails a three. But a Dennis Schroder layup and free throw makes it an 81-76 Lakers lead. Now Covington and Harrell with a tie-up. Gary Trent Jr. races down the floor and Kyle Kuzma with the hard foul on him. Trent makes 1 of 2 free throws, and it’s 81-77. Anthony Davis takes a hard fall. Hood’s three is off. Schroder makes a driving layup. Lillard banks in a three-pointer, and it’s 83-80 with 1:30 left in the third. Hood feeds Kanter for the layup, and the Lakers’ lead is down to 83-82 with 1:09 left in the quarter. In the closing seconds of the quarter, Derrick Jones Jr. with a beautiful block from behind on LeBron James. The game heads to the fourth with the Lakers leading 85-84.

— CJ McCollum hits a three to end the Lakers’ scoring run. The Blazers are down 69-64 with 6:53 to go in the third. Marc Gasol scores on the layup and he’s fouled. He misses the free throw, though. McCollum drives but can’t finish, and then it’s an alley-oop from LeBron James to Anthony Davis. Then Nurkic scores inside. On the Blazers’ next trip down, Lillard scores. The Lakers are up 73-68. Lillard dribbles across halfcourt and pulls up for a deep three that’s good. A bit later, Nurkic’s three is well short. The Lakers take a timeout with 4:31 to play in the third. They lead it 73-71.

Cheap Damian Lillard Jersey with a nice drive, but he loses the handle and turns it over. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope misses a three and the Blazers have it back. Lillard takes a pass from McCollum, dribbles once and then rises for a three that’s good. The Blazers go up 61-54 early in the third. The Blazers score consecutive baskets, the latter on a LeBron James dunk, and then Caldwell-Pope’s three ties the game at 61-61. Jusuf Nurkic called for a clear path foul on Dennis Schroder. He makes both free throws, and the Lakers regain the lead at 63-61 with 9:03 to go in the third. On the Lakers’ possession after the clear path foul, Schroder drives and draws the foul on Covington. His shot rolls off, though. The free throws are good, and the Lakers go up 65-61. A Lakers steal and a Caldwell-Pope layup. Then McCollum misses a three. The Lakers are on a 15-0 run after Schroder scores again to make it 69-61. The Blazers take a timeout with 7:34 left in the third.

HALFTIME: TRAIL BLAZERS 58, LAKERS 54

— At the half, Gary Trent Jr. leads the Blazers with 16 points off the bench, while CJ McCollum has 13 points and six assists. Damian Lillard has 10 points. Enes Kanter with six points and 10 rebounds. For the Lakers, LeBron James has 14 points and five rebounds, and Dennis Schroder has 11 points and four assists.

— LeBron James whistled for a non-shooting foul on Jusuf Nurkic. The Blazers inbound it, and Nurkic feeds Derrick Jones Jr., who misses the dunk but is fouled. Jones splits the free throws. James scores a layup. Covington feeds Jones for a dunk. Then Schroder hits a three, and the Blazers’ lead is down to 52-50. Schroder’s free throws tie up the game at 52-52 with 1:51 left in the half. Covington drives past Anthony Davis and dunks it. Then he gets the putback layup off of Lillard’s missed baseline jumper. Covington steals from James on his drive. Lillard is fouled, and he knocks down both free throws to give the Blazers at 58-52 lead. Schroder drives and scores for L.A. The half ends, and the Blazers lead it 58-54.

— CJ McCollum drives and finger rolls it in to give the Blazers a 43-35 lead. Dennis Schroder scores for the Lakers and it’s 43-37. Trent makes a layup and now has 16 points. Talen Horton-Tucker scores for the Lakers. The Blazers lead 45-39. Montrezl Harrell is fouled by Anfernee Simons and hits both free throws. McCollum drops in a jumper. Horton-Tucker scores. Covington’s three is off. The Blazers lead 47-43. Now under 4 minutes to go in the half. Lillard hits a jumper, and then Schroder scores for the Lakers. Portland leads 49-45 with 3:30 to play in the half.

Cheap Gary Trent Jr. Jersey hits a foul-line jumper to cut the Lakers’ lead to 30-24. Then CJ McCollum’s jumper makes it 30-26. As Cheap Anfernee Simons Jersey feeds Enes Kanter for the layup, the Blazers are on a 6-0 run to begin the second quarter and now are down just two at 30-28. Trent hits a three from the corner, and the Blazers go up 31-30 with 9:17 to go in the first half. The Blazers are on a 12-0 run to start the second after McCollum hits a three. But then Kuzma answers, and the Blazers’ lead is 34-33. Kanter scores, and he has six points and seven rebounds already. Shortly later, Trent drops in a three from the wing, and Portland’s lead is 39-35. On the Blazers’ next trip, Jones has his shot erased by LeBron James. McCollum is fouled and hits both free throws, and the Blazers lead 41-35 with 7:12 to go in the quarter.

END 1ST QUARTER: LAKERS 30, TRAIL BLAZERS 22

— Gary Trent Jr. drops in a corner three, and the Blazers have cut the Lakers’ lead to 20-15. Trent hits another three, and it’s 20-18. Cheap Wesley Matthews Jersey three is off. Robert Covington misses a three. And then Matthews scores on a layup. Cheap Rodney Hood Jersey called for a charge on his drive. Now 1:57 left in the first quarter. Montrezl Harrell dunks it for the Lakers. Then Enes Kanter scores on a layup. Now James gets the call on what could have been a charge. He converts the three-point play to make it 27-20. Rodney Hood scores inside with the friendly roll. Kuzma hits a three. And in the closing seconds of the quarter, Derrick Jones Jr. draws a foul. It’s a non-shooting foul, though. And Trent’s three is off to end the quarter. Lakers lead it 30-22 heading to the second quarter.

— Another three for Caldwell-Pope makes it 17-5. Cheap Jusuf Nurkic Jersey hook shot in the lane makes it 17-7. Lillard with a good defensive play against Schroder to knock the ball away on his drive. Caldwell-Pope hits a third three. Lakers go up 20-7. Lillard is fouled while shooting a three, and he’ll head to the line for free throws. Lillard converts all three, and the L.A. lead is 20-10 with 6:07 to go in the first. The Lakers turn it over. The Blazers give it right back. A couple of possessions later, McCollum drives and scores. The Lakers take a timeout with 4:17 to play in the first as they lead 20-12.

— The Lakers jump out to a quick 6-0 lead. Cheap Derrick Jones Jersey draws a foul and makes both free throws to make it 6-2. LeBron James knocks down a deep three-pointer to make it 9-2. The Blazers miss their first four threes, but then Damian Lillard hits one from straightaway. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope answers, and the Lakers lead 12-5. James steals from McCollum and gets a breakaway dunk for a 14-5 Lakers lead. The Blazers take a timeout with 8:23 to go in the first quarter.

Blazers starters: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr., Cheap Robert Covington Jersey, Jusuf Nurkic.

Lakers starters: Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol.