PORTLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers’ hopes of making the knockout round of the NBA’s first In-Season Tournament were dashed with a 107-95 loss to the Lakers in front of a crowd from 18,570 at Moda Center.
The Trail Blazers are now 3-9 overall, 1-4 at home and have lost six-straight.
“This the NBA, these organizations are pretty smart,” said Deandre Ayton. “When it comes to winning a game, they’re looking around, we got young dudes that are trying to make their name, just see their own game and what they’re capable of doing and what they’re going to be doing in this league.”
The loss drops the Trail Blazers to 1-2 in West Group A group play with one game left to play. The Lakers, also in West Group A, now have three wins, meaning the Trail Blazers cannot finish at the top of the group in order to advance to the quarterfinals. And while the Blazers might not be technically eliminated from getting the one wildcard berth in the West, they have neither the record nor point differential they would likely need to beat out the other 12 teams in the running.
So assuming they don’t qualify even if they win their final tournament game on Tuesday versus the Suns in Phoenix, Portland will play two games, one and home and one on the road, versus two to-be-determined opponents during the knockout round of the In-Season Tournament, which begins December 4 in Las Vegas.
Los Angeles led from wire-to-wire Friday night and by as many as 17. However, Portland trailed by just a point with 7:46 to play in the third quarter and would remain within striking distance until a 10-2 Lakers run to start the fourth put the game out of reach.
Jerami Grant led Portland with 24 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 40 minutes. Deandre Ayton posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds while also tallying two assists and two steals in 38 minutes.
Shaedon Sharpe finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 38 minutes. With his fifth point, Sharpe became the youngest player to score 1,000 points in franchise history.
Skylar Mays added 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals. Toumani Camara tallied 10 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.
LeBron James led all scorers with 35 points to go with nine assists and five rebounds. Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds in 34 minutes.
Next up, the Trail Blazers finish a three-game homestand by hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night at Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6p.m.