NBA

The Los Angeles Lakers Desperately Miss Two Former Boston Celtics Players

The first game of the NBA Playoffs for the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t pretty. The top-seeded Lakers fell to the No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers 100-93 Tuesday night. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis put up big numbers, the rest of the starters were woeful. Tuesday night’s game showed that the Lakers are missing two key players who used to play for their big rival, the Boston Celtics.

The stars showed up for the Los Angeles Lakers

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Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points while teammate LeBron James put up a monster triple-double with 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists. While neither team shot particularly well (Lakers 35.1 percent, Blazers 39.2), it was the supporting cast of James and Davis that really struggled Tuesday night.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed all nine of his shots from the floor. He finished with more personal fouls (3) than points (1). Caldwell-Pope played 29 minutes and, by far, his biggest contribution was three steals. He finished with the one point, one rebound, and one assist.

Danny Green at least made four shots. Green, however, went 4-for-12 and finished with 10 points in 24 minutes. Green, Caldwell-Pope and Javale McGee, three starters outside James and Davis, combined for 17 points on 7-for-26 shooting. The Bench wasn’t much better as Kyle Kuzma led the way with 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting. No other bench player had more than five points.

Are the Lakers in trouble?

The LA Lakers were the top seed in the Western Conference but found a way to play one of the hottest teams in the league in the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers have already played some pressure-packed games to qualify for the postseason.

Led by Damian Lillard’s game-high 34 points, the Trail Blazers had four of their starters score in double figures. C.J. McCollum finished with 21 points, while Jusuf Nurkic had 16 and Carmelo anthony added 11. The Blazers started quickly, leading by 11 after the first quarter and never took the foot off the gas.

Lillard admitted that the fact the Blazers needed to fight for every game to make the playoffs while in Orlando played a role in the win. “Every game since we’ve been here has been a playoff game. So that prepared us for a game like this,” Lillard said in an ESPN article. “It’s only one win. I’m happy to be here competing in the playoffs again, but we’ve got to move on to the next one.”

The Lakers are missing two key former Boston Celtics players

After LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers had very little help in Tuesday’s Game 1 loss to Portland. The Lakers were short-handed, playing without two key members who formerly played for their biggest rival, the Boston Celtics. The problem for the Lakers is that only one of them will return.

Point guard Rajon Rondo, according to CBS Sports, is questionable for Thursday’s game. Rondo has not played since the league has been in the ‘bubble’ in Orlando. He suffered a broken thumb while in Orlando before the games began. Rondo had a reputation of turning things up a notch in the playoffs and would be a huge asset to the team when he returns.

The Lakers were also without Avery Bradley, who opted out because of health risks. Bradley started 44 games for the Lakers this year. “As committed to my Lakers teammates and the organization as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family,” Avery Bradley said in an ESPN article. “And so, at a time like this, I can’t imagine making any decision that might put my family’s health and well-being at even the slightest risk.”