Trail Blazers spoil James' Lakers debut

Doug Mendoza
October 19, 2018

A red-hot start from LeBron James wasn't enough to secure the ideal start to his career as a Laker.

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combined for 49 points, and Nik Stauskas matched his career high with 24 points in his first appearance in a Portland uniform, leading the Trail Blazers past the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 128-119 on Thursday (Oct 18) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) season opener for both teams.

Bryant says he told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to get her house in order to have a chance of getting the 33-year-old on-board.

"So I'm really, really hopeful for the playoffs and once you get LeBron James to the playoffs, anything can happen, right?" "It takes some time to get that chemistry where you can just close your eyes and know exactly where guys are".

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James electrified the Portland crowd with back-to-back monster slams for his first points as a Laker, but ultimately he couldn't prevent them from dropping their 16th straight game to Portland dating back to March 2014.

James signed a mega four-year contract with the Lakers after calling time on his second spell with the Cleveland Cavaliers and entering free agency. James immediately hit back, weaving through defenders for another emphatic dunk to record his second basket as a new Laker.

For now, most expect Lakers coach Luke Walton's starting lineup to include young guns Hart and Ingram alongside veterans Rondo, McGee and James.

The lengthy wing had a strong preseason, averaging 17.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25.7 minutes per game.

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