Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers upset LeBron James' historic playoff debut with the Lakers in Game 1

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Ryan Young
·Writer
·4 min read
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Damian Lillard willed the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason at Walt Disney World.

It’d only make sense that he’d do it once again in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series, too.

Lillard scored 34 points and had six 3-pointers to lead the Trail Blazers past the Lakers 100-93 on Tuesday night, spoiling LeBron James’ postseason debut with Los Angeles.

They’re now the second No. 8 seed today to knock off the No. 1 seed in Game 1, following the Orlando Magic’s win against the Milwaukee Bucks earlier on Tuesday, the first time that’s happened since 2003.

Portland star Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard makes a layup against the Lakers on Tuesday night. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

Dame Time kicks in

The Trail Blazers took off early and grabbed a commanding 16-point lead in the opening period behind a double-double from Jusuf Nurkic, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first 12 minutes alone.

The Lakers rallied back, however, and kept it close into the second half while holding Lillard scoreless well into the fourth quarter.

That, however, is when Dame Time kicked in.

Lillard then made three of his next four 3-point attempts — including an absolute bomb from just inside the halfcourt logo — to put Portland back in the lead.

From there, the Trail Blazers held on and finished the game on a 19-6 run to grab the seven-point win.

CJ McCollum added 21 points in the win, and Nurkic finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds. The outing was the first time since January that Portland has held an opponent to less than 100 points, though also marked its fewest points scored in a win all season.

Though they’ve got a long way to go to make it out of the first round and get past a Lakers team many have considered to be title favorites for a long time, Lillard isn’t worried.

“I’m not concerned with our mentality going forward because I know our team,” he said, via KOIN’s AJ McCord. “The leaders of our team, the team is going to go where we go and I know where that is so I’m not concerned at all.”

LeBron James’ historic debut

James still had a historic outing in his postseason debut with the Lakers, putting up 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, marking the 24th career triple-double in the postseason and the most assists he’s had in a playoff game. He’s the first player in league history with a 20-point, 15-rebound and 15 assist triple-double in the playoffs, too.

Anthony Davis added 28 points and 11 rebounds in the loss, and Kyle Kuzma put up 14 points off the bench. As a team, however, the Lakers struggled offensively and shot just 5-of-32 from behind the arc and missed 11 free throws.

James again advocates for Breonna Taylor

James showed up to the game with a red hat that read “Make America Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor” with the words “Great Again” crossed out, too, and brought attention to her death yet again after the loss.

Taylor, a former EMT, was shot eight times and killed by police in March after they entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky in the middle of the night. Her death, along with George Floyd’s in Minneapolis, has sparked widespread outrage and protests across the country ever since.

“You know the situation that’s going on in Louisville, Kentucky, an innocent woman being killed by the name of Breonna Taylor,” James said. “[She was] a woman who had a bright future, and her life was taken away from her.

“There’s been no arrests. There’s been no justice, not only for her but for her family, and we’re want to continue to shed light on that situation, because it’s just unjust.”

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