A spat between two former NBA coaches was more competitive than the on-court action as the Los Angeles Lakers squared their first round playoff series with a 111-88 game two rout of the Portland Trailblazers that also featured an injury to Damian Lillard.
In commentary, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson hit a nerve with former Denver Nuggets mentor George Karl when analysing the performance of Portland star Carmelo Anthony.
“The people who killed Carmelo Anthony in the past for his defence, they were wrong,” Jackson said.
“This guy is picking up LeBron James fullcourt, he’s overmatched. It’s a shared responsibility for whoever allowed that defence to be played, because he has brought into this culture and he’s committed to it.
“This is energy and effort on the defence.”
Karl, who coached Anthony at the Nuggets, returned serve on Twitter.
“I heard Mark Jackson is taking shots at my defensive coaching during tonight’s broadcast,” he tweeted.
“Remind me, how many all-star teams did you coach, Mark?
“How many DPOYs (defensive player of the year)?
“How many Finals appearances?
“How many of my teams became dynasties right after I left?”
Jackson couldn’t help but fire back on Twitter.
“Wasn’t even thinking of u! Btw I never lost to u in the playoffs as a Player or as a Coach! God Bless u and urs!”
Back on the court, Anthony Davis had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the top-seeded Lakers bounced back from a series opening loss.
“Obviously, this is an important game for us,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
“We have tremendous respect for them. We’re going to have to battle the way we did tonight in every game this series.”
Davis scored 28 points in game two, but made just eight of 24 shots. In game two, he made 13 of 21.
“I just wanted to come out tonight with the mindset tonight to be aggressive and to help my team on both ends of the floor and do whatever I had to do to help the team win,” he said.
LeBron James had 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers for the Lakers. He had 23 points, 17 rebounds and a playoff career-high 16 assists in game one.
The Trail Blazers stunned the Lakers 100-93 in game one, but things went horribly wrong in game two. A poor performance got worse when all-star guard Damian Lillard dislocated the index finger on his left hand in the third quarter. The team said X-rays were negative.
“It’s just sore,” Lillard said. “A little bit tender to the touch. Dislocated it. A little bit sore, a little bit swollen. Uncomfortable.”
Portland coach Terry Stotts said it’s too early to determine Lillard’s status for game three.
Lillard was held to 18 points after ripping the Lakers for 34 in game one.
Davis scored 21 points in the first half to help the Lakers take a 56-39 lead. The Trail Blazers’ high-powered offence shot 35 percent in the half.
Early in the third quarter, Davis aggressively grabbed a defensive rebound, then fired a long pass to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a breakaway jam that gave the Lakers a 63-41 lead.
The Lakers continued to pour it on and led 88-58 after three quarters. Los Angeles led by 32 points in the period.
It was quite a drop-off for The Trail Blazers, who had been one of the best teams in the bubble.
“We didn’t relax, they just went after it harder than we did,” Lillard said. “It was their night. It didn’t help that we didn’t play well on the offensive end.”