The 8th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers defeated top-seeded Los Angeles, 100-93, in Game 1 of their first-round series Tuesday evening to take a 1-0 series lead.
In NBA history, teams that win Game 1 of the playoff series win the series nearly 77% of the time, and to pull off the upset, as the Blazers are attempting to do, it's a necessity. Losing Game 1 forced the team to win four times in six games, a tall task for a team that's seemingly outmatched.
Due to the impressive victory Tuesday by Portland, their odds via FiveThirtyEight have more than doubled to win the series from 9% to 19%. Meanwhile, Basketball Reference's analytics say the Blazers have a 27.2% chance of winning the first-round series following Game 1.
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They're still viewed as underdogs by their analytics, but it's important to acknowledge that FiveThirtyEight uses data from all regular-season games to make predictions, not just the games from the bubble.
Since arriving in Orlando, the Blazers have had the best offense in the NBA with the return of Jusuf Nurkic, who averaged 17.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in the seeding games. The Dame-Nurk pick-and-roll may be the best duo in the league posting 1.52 points per pick-and-roll. Add in that the Lakers are playing drop coverage against Damian Lillard who's scoring 1.373 points per possession against that defense in the bubble and the Blazers are not your typical eighth seed.
But the Lakers already know that. LeBron James stressed that he's viewing the series as anything but a cakewalk before Game 1.
"They're not your typical eighth seed. I don't think they would have been the eighth seed if they were healthy all year and that's my mindset," LeBron James told the media following Monday's practice. "I'm not going in as a one seed versus an eight seed. I'm going in as the Lakers vs Portland... I won't be going in with my guard down."
Now up 1-0 in the series, the Blazers better prepare for an even more motivated and dialed in LeBron in Game 2.
The Portland Trail Blazers will take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the first round on Thursday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports NW.