Damian Lillard suffered a knee injury in the Blazers’ rough Game 4 loss to LA
The Blazers’ struggles could very well carry over to Game 5, as Portland had little to no answer to LeBron James’ sheer willpower to give the Lakers a commanding 3-1 lead on Kobe Bryant day, honoring the Mamba the best way he knows how — with a dominating performance in his name.
The Lakers won handily, and James dropped 30 points and 10 assists rather casually, and Los Angeles was never really challenged thanks mostly to The King and Davis, who poured in 18 of his own in just 18 minutes due to an injury.
For the Blazers, however, the most concerning development was Lillard’s injury. Dame was already dealing with a finger issue in his non-shooting hand, but will now be forced out of Game 5, per Shams Charania.
Can the Blazers survive another Lakers onslaught in Game 5 without Lillard?
Should the Blazers win Game 5, there’s a chance Lillard could come back later in this series, but even that seems like a stretch given his knee sprain. In his absence, the team will count even more on CJ McCollum, who’s been playing through a fractured back, and Jusuf Nurkic, who recently lost his grandmother and is playing with a heavy heart. Unless they get a vintage effort from Carmelo Anthony, the entire team must chip in to replace Lillard’s production, and that’s easier said than done given his usage rate was through the roof in 2019-20.
Yes, this Blazers team is talented, even without Lillard at the helm. But to win Game 5 against the best team in the Western Conference (record-wise) without your best player may be too much to ask.
Lillard averaged 30 points and 8 assists on the season. Without his presence, Dame Time might run out for the Blazers in the bubble.