Lakers rely on scrappy defense in victory over Blazers

LeBron James scores 28 points, L.A. ends 4-game losing streak
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Despite another poor start, the Los Angeles Lakers responded on the defensive end of the floor and earned a 102-93 win over the Portland Trailblazers at Staples Center Friday.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Lakers and LeBron James served as the catalyst with his defense. James finished with four steals and three blocks, along with 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Damian Lillard had another good night for Portland against the Lakers, finishing with 35 points. 

However, Los Angeles held Portland to 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 29.7 percent from the 3-point line. The Lakers held Portland to 36 points in the second half.

The Lakers improved to 23-10 on the season, with three games left before the All-Star Break. The Trailblazers dropped their fourth straight game and fell to 18-14 on the year.

The Lakers forced 15 Portland turnovers, scoring 22 points off those miscues.

Top player: In his first game back after missing four games because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Dennis Schröder made an impact, finishing with 22 points. Montrezl Harrell added 17 points.

What I liked: Lakers finished with an advantage in points in the paint (52-30) and bench points (35-13).

What I didn’t like: The Lakers still struggled from the 3-point line, finishing 7-of-27 (26 percent) from beyond the arc. Portland also held a 17-12 advantage in second-chance points.

Injuries: The Lakers are now 6-5 without Anthony Davis, who remains until after the All-Star break with a right calf strain.

They said it: “We just tried to get back to doing what we do best. For a long stretch of the season we were the best defensive team in the league. And we took a step back from that for whatever reason, whether it was discipline, focus or energy. We really just came out and tried to put out a full effort because we know what this team is capable of. ” – Lakers guard Alex Caruso on how his team played defensively.