Pregame Report: Lakers @ Blazers

Photo by Harry How I Getty Images

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.

Starters
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

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Portland: CSN (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Portland: 95.5 FM (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • 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

Blazers:

  • SG Eliot Williams (Knee Injury) Out
  • C Greg Oden (Knee Injury) Out
  • PF Marcus Camby (Neck Injury) Out
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • NoDefense

    Ok,had three games off,time to kick a little ass tonight,go lakers,,,,,,,,,

  • Dre81

    Fisher can’t shoot for shit nor can he play defense

    Every since Amare said that about Pau He has been out played and outrebounded by the man he guarding

    Amare got in his head.

    and Dont EVEN get me started about Steve Blake(Mr Cant shoot he just run around looking like a fool)

    WE SHOULD HAVE KEPT FARMAR!

    Shannon Brown get on my nerves now.

    We should have kept Sasha too at least he can at least make a 3 pointer

  • T411Lakers

    Well…at present we are down by 17. Great Job Lakers NOT NAMED KOBE…Great Job

    I mean really….Someone says he’s soft, than he lives up to it….Way to go into the playoffs with momentum Lakers…way to go

  • tradesasha

    damn lakers, this is some ugly ass display man!! i just wasted another 2 1/2 hours of my life watching some bullshit basketball…fuck man…im extremely pissed off!

    • http://www.kaley-cuoco.info Kaley Cuoco Insider

      I am choked too. It seems like Lakers are purposely losing to position themselves against Hornets in 1st round playoffs. They play like they’re bored. Really sucks for us fans who watch the whole game.

  • John

    Great job Los Looser!!! Kobe should be ashamed to consider himself an MVP candidate this season with that shooting pct. Keep it the streak alive Los Loosers!!!!!

    • LakerMarc

      John seriously dude….KOBE IS NOT A CANDIDATE!!!!

      • John

        Great, because his name and not his play is carrying him this season

  • http://www.attorneyguide.com Big Shot Bob

    So f’in pissed right now. I just can’t believe how I let these bastards steal the joy out of my life. I’ve been a hard core Laker fan my whole life but honestly I hope they lose in the playoffs. We put our heart and soul into this team and they just piss on us in return. We know it has nothing to do with our lack of talent or “just a bad night”. It’s clearly a lack of desire and pride. Everyone says they are going to be fine and that’s just great. I personally want to root for a team that gives it their all each and every night, at the very least for their fans.

    • Luke Sucks

      If the only joy in your life is the NBA you have more serious issues than a Laker loss. Try medication, it may help.

      • LakerMarc

        Asshole

    • LakerMarc

      BSB…I get you but the Lakers losing wd devastate me for a couple of days then life goes on…I’m not on that team and I don’t go out there and perform (or not perform as in their case of late)…SO I DON”T HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE LOSSES AND FAILURE..and I am as die hard as they come.