The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks stepped it up yesterday, bouncing back from opening upsets with convincing victories in the NBA playoffs.
LeBron James and the Lakers, seeded first in the Western Conference, thumped the Portland Trail Blazers 111-88 to even their best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
The Bucks came back from a humbling loss to beat the Orlando Magic 111-96.
Anthony Davis, who struggled through an eight-of-24 shooting night in the Lakers’ game one loss to Portland, led Los Angeles with 31 points on 13 of 21 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.
He’s the first Laker since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to score more than 30 points in a playoff game in less than 30 minutes of action.
“He was just aggressive from the beginning of the game,” James said of Davis. “He wasn’t passive at all, looked for his shots. He did a great job of rebounding as well, got some put-backs.”
James scored just 10 points, but his quiet night was no problem for a Lakers team that closed the first half on a 12-2 scoring run for a 17-point halftime lead.
“We knew we had to not have as many defensive lapses,” James said.
“When you have a defensive strategy you have to execute that strategy for 48 minutes and I think we did a great job of that tonight,” he added after the Lakers held the Blazers to 40% shooting overall and just 27.6% from three-point range.
The Lakers led by 30 — 88-58 — going into the fourth quarter, when Portland suddenly found themselves without star Damian Lillard.*AFP
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