LeBron James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, beating the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 131-122 in Game 5 on Saturday night in Orlando, Fla.
Anthony Davis had a playoff-best 43 points for the top-seeded Lakers in their first playoff appearance since 2013.
The Lakers will play the winner of the series between Houston and Oklahoma City. The Rockets took a 3-2 lead with a 114-80 victory earlier Saturday.
CJ McCollum had 36 points for the surprisingly scrappy Trail Blazers, who played without injured All-Star guard Damian Lillard. Carmelo Anthony added 27 points.
Down 14 in the third quarter, Portland got to 100-97 on McCollum’s layup and tied it on Anfernee Simon’s 3-pointer to cap an 8-point run with 9:46 left. James answered with a 3.
Gary Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer tied it at 109 with just under seven minutes to go. Again the Lakers held off Portland with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3.
After Trent’s 3-pointer closed it to 114-112 with 4:53 left, Davis had a personal 11-0 run to put Los Angeles up 123-112 and all but seal it.
The game was originally set for Wednesday night, but players collectively decided not to play in the three playoff games scheduled for that day to protest racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Games on Friday were also postponed.
Lillard injured his right knee in Game 4 that prompted him to leave the bubble in Florida and return to Portland to see team doctors. Lillard was named MVP of the seeding games heading into the playoffs, averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists in eight games.
Trent Jr. took his Lillard’s spot in the opening lineup. But because of injuries the eighth-seeded Blazers had just nine players available for the game.
Portland’s lone win in the first-round series came in Game 1.