Dribbles: LeBron, Lakers dance their way to another achievement

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Random dribbles following the Los Angeles Lakers' 131-122 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5 of their first-round series on the Disney campus.

1. Until Saturday, the Lakers hadn't advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2012. Translation: It's been eight long years for the Lakers faithful, and after losing Game 1 of this series, they can breathe their first sigh of relief.

2. It's hard to know who was better -- LeBron James, or Anthony Davis. So let's just call them co-MVPs in this one. Davis sizzled with 43 points on 14-of-18 shooting. James went for 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

3. It really is hard to believe that James will turn 36 years old in four months. As an aside, that birthday also takes place on the next-to-last day before we can finally celebrate the end of 2020 (Dec. 30).

4. Why is it so hard to believe about LeBron? Because he is playing like a man 15 years younger. He buried 3-pointers in the face of Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. He drove to the basket and finished in traffic. He crashed the glass. He got doubled and found the open man.

5. Sound familiar? It should. LeBron has been doing all of it and more since 2003.

6. As a team, the Lakers didn't look that great in the seeding games. They were way out of sorts in Game 1. To be honest, they even looked out of sorts for stretches in this one. But let's just say that Playoff LeBron is alive and well, thank you very much.

7. Davis to Spectrum SportsNet on James: "He's a great talent, a generational talent. ... His intensity and his mindset kick into overdrive in the playoffs. He's a perfectionist."

8. Of course, while Davis was giving the interview, James playfully danced in the background to the sound of Sade's "Smooth Operator." 

9. The Lakers also received an underrated performance from shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He scored 14 and hit a couple of big threes, with the Lakers outscoring the Blazers by 17 points when KCP was on the court.

10. Davis also gave plenty of credit to the Blazers, who kept things close despite being without injured star Damian Lillard. This game was tied at 109-all late before the Lakers pulled away.

11. It truly was a great night for Northeast Ohio, as guard C.J. McCollum (Canton GlenOak H.S.) matched James and led the Blazers with 36 points.

12. Carmelo Anthony was also brilliant in adding 27 points. It was a great showing from a future Hall-of-Famer who a lot of people doubted. A lot even suspected his career was over.

13. Anthony now becomes an unrestricted free agent. But he told reporters after the game that he thinks he may have founds a home in the Blazers.

14. Next up for the Lakers? Well, it depends. If the Houston Rockets eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, the Lakers-Rockets Game 1 will be Wednesday. If the Rockets-Thunder series goes to a Game 7, the Lakers aren't likely to play again until Friday (though that's not yet official).

15. The Rockets took two of three from the Lakers during the season. Davis missed two of those games, but one of them was the one the Lakers won.