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Lakers final road game at Portland; Blazers may start 4 rookies

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#1 Bjork



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Posted April 09, 2013 - 09:57 PM




The Trail Blazers on Wednesday will simultaneously try avoid their longest losing streak in seven years and spoil the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff aspirations.
And they very well might attempt both while making franchise history. 
As his starting lineup continues to be ravaged by injuries, coachTerry Stotts is contemplating starting four rookies when the Lakers visit the Rose Garden Wednesday night. If it happens, it would be the first time in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. 
How did it get to this point? 
Starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews sprained his right ankle Sunday night in aloss to the Dallas Mavericks and already has been ruled out against the Lakers. Starting small forward Nicolas Batum was able to shoot Tuesday, but continues to deal with the effects of a superior labral tear in his right shoulder and is listed as doubtful. Meanwhile, starting center JJ Hickson skipped Tuesday’s practice with lower back pain and is considered questionable.
And while the availability of the trio looks grim, their replacements look young. Stotts on Tuesday said he was leaning toward starting rookie Will Barton in place of Matthews at shooting guard. Rookie Victor Claver has started the last three games for Batum and rookie center Meyers Leonard has started in place of Hickson or LaMarcus Aldridge six times this season. Add them to rookie point guard Damian Lillard and the four-rookie starting lineup is complete.
It could not come at a worse time for the Blazers (33-44), who have lost a season-high eight consecutive games and are trying to avoid a complete free-fall at the end of a promising season. The franchise has not endured a nine-game losing streak since the 2005-06 season, when they lost 19 of the last 20 games, including 11 in a row from March 14 to April 2
The losing streak, the young starting lineup and the chance to play spoiler to a Lakers team that is frantically trying to capture the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff hunt should create an extra dose of motivation for a reeling Blazers team.
Actually, Stotts said, the Lakers alone provide enough motivation. 
“Everybody gets up for playing the Lakers,” he said. “We realize the implications for them, what the game means for them. But when you’re going up against Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, if Steve Nash plays — these guys grew up watching them. So I think there’s certainly a lot of motivation playing them.” 
Matthews undergoes MRI, results negative
Matthews limped around the practice facility wearing a walking boot on his right foot Tuesday afternoon and it is unclear how long he’ll have to deal with the cumbersome protection. 
He underwent two magnetic resonance imaging tests on his sprained right ankle and neither revealed significant damage, including any ligament tears. Matthews said there was some soft tissue damage, however, and he planned to undergo two more MRI tests as a precaution.
When asked if he thought he would play again this season, Matthews seemed prepared for the worst.
“I don’t know,” he said. “(I’ll) listen to my body and see how it goes.”
Batum shoots for first time in eight days
Batum did not fully return to practice Tuesday, but did participate in some post-practice shooting. He went through a series of shooting drills for about 30 minutes alongside injured teammate Elliot Williams, testing his ailing right shoulder for the first time since April 1.
“It’s still sore, a little bit sore,” Batum said afterward. “Shooting at the end, I feel like my shoulder was burning.”
Batum labeled himself a game-time decision. But the team is taking extra caution because the injury is in the same right shoulder that Batum had surgery on in 2009.

Edited by Bjork, April 09, 2013 - 09:58 PM.

#2 Real Deal

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 10:26 PM

These are the tougher teams to beat...heavily depends on how quickly we identify each new players' roles on offense and defense.

#3 LakersChamps243


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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:07 PM

These are the tougher teams to beat...heavily depends on how quickly we identify each new players' roles on offense and defense.

Very true. If we have the right focus and mindset for most of the game it will help us tremendously and those young players will not have the effect they want to have in this game. 

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there" - John Wooden

#4 TKainZero


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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:12 PM

Playing against young legs in the 2nd of a back to back is dangerous

Thankfully Kobe only played 41 mins last night

#5 Majesty


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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:30 PM

Gonna be a tough game. People think "oh no stars! Easy game". But we have no idea what to expect or what to scout for. And we'd better hope by the time we figure it out we aren't too far behind to change it.

"Bryant had come to rage against the idea that Howard's clownish disposition could overtake the locker room, the Lakers' culture, and had warned Howard that he would never, ever let it happen." 

#6 West Coast

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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:43 PM

Gonna be a tough game. People think "oh no stars! Easy game". But we have no idea what to expect or what to scout for. And we'd better hope by the time we figure it out we aren't too far behind to change it.


If ANY Lakers fan think that after this season, they haven't been paying attention. 


If the Lakers come out focused, they SHOULD take care of business, but then again, this is the Lakers we are talking about. 

#7 erfolk


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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:43 PM

Its pretty simple we should win there's no excuses to loose to this team. If we don't win we don't deserve to make the platoffs

#8 Michaelyumm


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Posted April 09, 2013 - 11:50 PM

look out for will barton

#9 bigvee



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Posted April 10, 2013 - 05:37 AM

Doesn't matter, Lilliard will destroy us. Just contain everyone else.

#10 DanishLakerFan



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Posted April 10, 2013 - 06:02 AM

I'm tired of saying this, but this is a must-win game. Again.


The problem with a team like Portland isn't Batum or Matthews, but rather the quickness of Lillard and the fact that they are younger and faster than LA.


However, if we somehow can contain Lillard, slow down the game and punish them with bigs inside i think we will win. Also, Kobe should have a field-day with Batum and Matthews out and do a lot of damage in the post agaist the two young guys, Barton and Victor. 

Another point: If they're without both Matthews and Batum their 3pt% will go down as well. Outside those two, who are responsible for almost 60% of the Blazer's 3s this season, only Lillard can hit the 3 consistently.

#11 Warren2ThaG



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Posted April 10, 2013 - 06:16 AM

Portland is my 2nd fav team guys

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#12 Real Deal

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Posted April 10, 2013 - 09:09 AM

Doesn't matter, Lilliard will destroy us. Just contain everyone else.

Lillard isn't a superstar, so the idea would be to shut him down, and let the rest of the team fight for air.  Young backups are going to rely on him, heavily, to create shots...and that's where we turn the lights off.


Now, with someone like LeBron James...you want to slow him down, but not direct all of your defensive attention his way, for three reasons.  One, he's still going to get 25-30 on you, if he really wants it.  Two, the Heat have placed very good role players around him, as well as another superstar and an all-star.  Finally, he's basically the total package, the most efficient and effective non-big man scorer in the NBA that can also tear you up with 10 assists.


We turn our attention to Lillard, to force these inexperienced rooks (four in their lineup, possibly) and Aldridge to play a game they truly want to avoid.  Portland is 19th in assists...because of Lillard (who we want to shut down) and Batum (who is likely out).  Suddenly, it's talent vs. talent, ISO's galore for the Blazers, and they will not win that battle.

#13 epicwolf


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Posted April 10, 2013 - 09:21 AM

I wish we get Lilliard in the near future




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Posted April 10, 2013 - 09:34 AM

We have to win. We have to assume that the Jazz are going to run the table.

#15 nikolatesla



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Posted April 10, 2013 - 10:06 AM

I wish we get Lilliard in the near future

i would rather have Kyrie.

If 2 of their 4 rookies have a career night, which they will, we win. If we allow 3-4 of them have career nights, which we might, we are in trouble.

#16 BasketballIQ



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Posted April 10, 2013 - 10:24 AM

I would force Lillard to score 60 to beat us.


I think people often make the mistake of focusing ONLy on the superstar and since we don't know the strengths of others players, we could be playing right in their hand.


Lil Lilliard and LA can outplay Kobe and Dwight on a good night , so I think we need Jamison,Clark and Meeks to step up.


BTW where is Nash?

#17 True Lakers Fan

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Posted April 10, 2013 - 10:25 AM


#Blazers G Wesley Matthews (ankle) F Nicolas Batum (shoulder) are out tonight vs Lakers.




JJ Hickson is a gametime decision 


#18 Nak


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Posted April 10, 2013 - 10:29 AM

 Great news, Batum is the Blazer who usually torches the Lakers. If we end up losing this game, we would not deserve to make the playoffs at all. Could not be easier!

Arguably the greatest franchise ever

#19 GCMD


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Posted April 10, 2013 - 11:19 AM

Fatal flaw of most rookies is their post defense.  Attack the rim AND force feed the paint until they are down 20+.



If we shoot a lot of Js, we may lose this game...badly.  These guys are going to run and run and run...only way to stop that is slow the game down and pound them in the paint...


Trust in Mitch

#20 MDI


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Posted April 10, 2013 - 11:25 AM

Must win tonight



Props to sidthekid871

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