Damian Lillard had 28 points to lead the Trail Blazers, who were pleasantly surprised by the performance of Nik Stauskas off the bench. The guard had 24 points in a reserve role to help the Blazers record their NBA-record 18th straight home opening victory. It was also Portland's 16th straight win over the Lakers, as they had taken advantage of the team's struggles since Kobe Bryant retired.
The Lakers are witnessing their first star since Kobe, but despite James setting up good looks for his teammates, many of the team's young stars failed to knock down shots. That included the Lakers going 0-for-15 from three-point range in the first half.
James had nine points in the first quarter alone, helping the Lakers jump out to a 10-point lead early on, which Portland quickly erased. The Blazers went on a huge run that had them leading by as many as 11 before halftime, but they were up just two at the break. Stauskas led all scorers with 16 points in the first half, as the young guard made a big impression in his team debut.
The hot shooter out of Michigan made game-sealing free throws late to help the Blazers keep the Lakers from taking the lead late in the fourth. James will make his Staples Center debut on Saturday night when the Lakers host another struggling team in the Houston Rockets for their home opener. The Trail Blazers will stay home to host the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night.