Their win against the Hornets last night was a microcosm of the Lakers season. The Lakers had a 10 point lead in the first half only to concede a 14-0 run and eventually go down by 5 at the half. They had moments where they played truly inspiring basketball, particularly on the defensive end. They even had moments where they pounded the ball inside to Pau Gasol. They also were tied up in the fourth quarter against a team that likely won’t win 30 games at home with their season seemingly on the line.
The Blazers come in reeling tonight having had their slim playoff hopes crushed a little while ago. Such teams usually struggle to find motivation in the initial games afterwards before accepting their reality and playing with purpose. The Blazers don’t have much to play for in the grand scheme of things, but are fully aware of the impact they can have on the Lakers playoff run. We can most assuredly expect them to provide a spirited effort tonight. While the Blazers are suffering from injuries, their core players of Aldridge, Lillard, and Hickson will be playing. They also have intriguing rookie Will Barton starting tonight. Barton was terrific in the summer league and has a great opportunity to showcase his talent against a Lakers team that has a way of making role players look like superstars.
The Lakers struggle this year in back to back situations has been well documented. One could make the argument that they’re due for a win in this type of situation, especially with their playoff hopes at stake. Sadly, it is not a convincing argument. The Lakers are still woefully inconsistent and lack the depth to handle games on consecutive nights, let alone cover spreads of this margin. Expect the Lakers to be in a dogfight all night.
Play: Blazers +6.5
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