Pregame Report: Lakers vs. Blazers

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The (49-20) Los Angeles Lakers are at Staples Center tonight hosting the red-hot (40-29) Portland Trailblazers. Portland, winners of three straight and seven of their last nine games are always a tough opponent.

The Lakers will be playing without the services of Andrew Bynum. The league hit Bynum with a two-game suspension without pay, for his flagrant foul two on Michael Beasley. I do not think the foul was with malicious intent. It appeared to be more the product of a physical game. The Lakers are gearing up for playoff basketball and physical play is a part of it.  However, they will miss Bynum’s defense, 15.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game.

The league suspension should not come as a surprise to anyone. The moment Bynum was late coming over to stop the penetration to the basket, he made the decision to bump Beasley, as oppose to contest his shot at the front of the rim. You had to know that the league would respond.

It was disappointing watching the play develop, knowing the outcome, after witnessing Bynum raise his level of play, do a great job of protecting the rim, blocking and changing shots since the All-Star break. It’s un-timely because the Lakers were playing well heading into the Minnesota game. They started slow, looked lethargic, as if the squad needed a collective B-12 shot and not like a team that had three days of rest.

The Lakers have to stop the dribble penetration of Andre Miller as well as limit his scoring opportunities. They have to do a solid job defending the screen and roll play, quickly rotate out to open shooters and extend their defense out to behind the arc. The front-line has to be aggressive on both ends of the court and attack the basket early and often. They have to adjust to playing without their shot blocker and do a solid job of position defense, keeping their men in front of them.

The Lakers have to play with defensive focus and offensive discipline. They have to match the intensity of their opponent. They have to chase Wesley Matthews from behind the arc. Matthews has been a big reason for the Blazers winning, averaging 19.8 points while shooting 62.5 percent from three-point range in his last five games. LaMarcus Aldridge is going to get his points, they have to limit the impact of Nicholas Batum, Gerald Wallace and the Blazers’ bench.

Tonight poses a serious challenge to the Lakers. They have to dominate the painted area and out rebound the Blazers. The bench has played well and needs to continue to make an impact for the Lakers.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, Lamar Odom, P. Gasol
Blazers:
A. Miller, W. Matthews, N. Batum, G. Wallace, L. Aldridge

Tip-off: 6:30 PM

Television -

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

Radio -

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

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (League Suspension)
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out

Blazers:

  • SG Brandon Roy (Back) Day-to-Day
  • C Greg Oden (Knee Injury) Out

Elliot Williams (Right Knee) Out

Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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  • 242LakerFan

    This game has gone from one tgat should be competitive and fun to watch to one that concerns me greatly thanks to a single yet total lapse of discipline on the part of young Andrew Bynum. Young, but not inexperienced.
    But we can’t dwell on that. We can’t change it. We have to deal with it. That means dealing with a dangerous Blazers squad that always plays us tough without our biggest advantage of size in the paint.
    So, what does it all mean? To me it means this game just got a lot more exciting to watch. Oh, and if we lose, it’s all Stu Jackson’s fault. LOL

    • Tyler

      This will be tough for the lakers now. It’s either a blowout…or tight win for either side. I can’t believe it’s two games….We need to win everything to keep in front dallas and catch Chi-town and The Celdicks. So lets go out with energy, and get a good solid win against one of our nemesis’

      LETS GO LAKERS !!!!!

  • riley

    Games like this especially when the game on the line is why Some of ya’ll should shut the fuck up about kobe shot selection Did you see that damn fadeaway on Roy? HAM!

  • 242LakerFan

    Well, Stu, I guess Kobe and Fish let you off the hook. But please, PLEASE, sit your tired ass refs down and and give them some kind of refresher course on calling a fair game! That’s one where fouls get called for BOTH teams!!!

    • ZK

      They will never be fair to the Lakers. This has been going on for ever.
      Ask Kareem. They would call three fouls on him in the first quarter and take him out of the game. Often times he would have three opposing players hanging on him and he would get no calls.
      Ask Shaq when he played for the Lakers. Same crap, and why would we think it would be any different now?
      They cannot stand LA, and they are no different than the the Beat LA crowd.
      The harder the zebras try to screw the Lakers, the better have our teams gotten. It will make us tougher for the money time.

  • 123kid

    wow kobe scared the sh*t out of me. i was screaming at the tv for him to shut up and not yell at the refs. bynum for two games was harsh, but no kobe and bynum would suck. overall great game. i was really hoping for caracter and smith to get some some pt, but ruined his chance.

    • 242LakerFan

      The reason he gets away with that kind of behaviour so much is that THEY KNOW THEY’RE WRONG! They know they’ve screwed him out of another two or three points so they let him rant!

  • ZK

    Another 5 on 8, and what a surprise!

    As disgusting as it is, it is so sweet to tuck the Laker hating zebras’ tails between their legs and send them off -little Danny Crawford, Matt Boland and Scott Wall for tonight.
    The best player in the world gets fouled time and again, and shoots 2 free throws for the game. Looking at the past several games, it is getting worse and worse.
    And what is with Stu Lantz trying to justify every call against the Lakers, and questioning any call we get? I think he would make a great zebra. I hope the Lakers get rid of the jerk and not allow him to use Laker facilities to damage the Lakers. According to Stu the Laker hater, Kobe fouled Andre Miller when he stole the ball-the numerous replays showed otherwise, yet he did not say a thing when Kobe was clearly hit on the wrist by La Marcus Aldridge on the shot he made from the left side, aside from many others. Fish got fouled by Rudy Fernandez driving for the nail in the coffin, and of course, he agreed with the zebras because nothing was said about it. It makes my blood boil as a Laker fan that we pay the salary of a Laker hater. Lakers, PLEASE GET RID OF HIM!

    • 242LakerFan

      God, I miss Chick! The only reason Stu’s still there is because he was Chick’s last partner. “NOOOICE!” Yeah, whatever, Stu.