The (55-23) Los Angeles Lakers are in Oregon to face the (46-33) Portland Trailblazers. The Lakers have taken three of the four games in the season series. They’re seeking to snap a three-game skid and win tonight and the they would earn their first season sweep
The Lakers have won the last two games at the Rose Garden after losing 22 of 26. The Lakers can no longer catch the Spurs and win the Western Conference; that ship has sailed. The slump the they’re in has also kept them from locking up the number two seed.
A more pressing issue for the Purple and Gold would be their shooting and getting back to playing Lakers basketball. They’re a rhythm team that needs to get back to playing in a good rhythm.
The last three opponents have held the Lakers to 90 or fewer points. Against the Warriors, the Lakers committed 17 turnovers. They appeared heavy, sluggish and fatigued.
The Lakers have shot 41.2 percent from the field in the last three games while connecting on only a pedestrian 22.8 percent from behind the arc. They’re averaging 18.7 turnovers — more than five above their season average. This trend needs too stop, immediately.
The Blazers have won three of their last four games. In the Blazers win on Thursday over the Jazz’s, Gerald Wallace and Nicholas Batum combined for 50 points. Wallace scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half.
Wallace is averaging 20.1 points per game on 54.4 percent shooting and has scored in double-digits nine straight times. The Lakers were the last team to hold Wallace under double-digits in scoring. The Blazers are 13-8 since acquiring Wallace via trade.
The Lakers walking the fine line between confidence and concern. They possess both. They have to return to playing with defensive focus and offensive discipline. They need to establish both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the post and provide them enough touches to dominate.
The Lakers need to have better ball movement and move the ball from the weak side to the strong side to move the defense. They’re shooting too many three-point shots. They need to play with a much better energy level and have to control the tempo of the game, stop Andre Miller’s dribble penetration as well as limit his scoring. They need to communicate defensively and have a solid game defending the screen and roll play. It is imperative that they get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
The front line needs to control the boards on both ends of the court. They need to out-rebound, out-hustle and out-work the Blazers.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Blazers: A. Miller, W. Matthews, N. Batum, G. Wallace, L. Aldridge
Tip-off: 7:00 PM
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Portland: CSN (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Portland: 95.5 FM (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
- Kobe Bryant (Sprained Left Ankle) Will Play
- Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out
- Pau Gasol (Bone Bruise, Right Knee) Day-to-Day
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Questionable
- SG Eliot Williams (Knee Injury) Out
- C Greg Oden (Knee Injury) Out
- PF Marcus Camby (Neck Injury) Out