Photo courtesy of Harry How, Getty Images

April 1, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers come off a very impressive win vs. Phoenix Suns this Sunday to end a 2-game winning streak. Now, they seek to carry Sunday’s momentum into tonight’s matchup vs. Portland Trail Blazers, a team the Lakers defeated in their last meeting.

Pau Gasol seeks to return to tonight’s matchup after dealing with a scary vertigo illness that caused him to miss this past week. Gasol, scoring 17.5 PPG and grabbing 9.8 RPG this season, highly desires to play the last 9 games alongside C Chris Kaman to finish the rest of this season, according to LATimes.com’s Eric Pincus.

Kaman, who Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has thrown to the end of the bench throughout this season for reasons unknown to any Laker fans, dominated the Suns Sunday night by scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Kaman and Gasol showed that they could play well alongside eachother throughout the pre-season, but the twin-tower combination has barely stepped on the floor together this season.

The all- duo of F/C LaMarcus Aldridge and PG Damian Lillard lead the Trail Blazers into STAPLES Center tonight.  Aldridge, who has reached the prime of his career, comes into tonight’s game averaging a career high 23.2 PPG and 11.1 RPG by fully developing his all-around game.

Meanwhile, Lillard has become a star in only his 2nd NBA season. An example of a player who benefitted from playing in college for all 4 years, Lillard has become a household NBA name, averaging 20.9 PPG and 5.5 APG throughout this season.

Projected Starters

PG – Kendall Marshall  Damian Lillard [Advantage: Trail Blazers]
SG – Jodie Meeks / Wesley Matthews [Advantage: Trail Blazers]
SF – Wesley Johnson Nicholas Batum [Advantage: Trail Blazers]
PF – Chris Kaman / LaMarcus Aldridge [Advantage: Trail Blazers]
C – Pau Gasol Robin Lopez  [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Blazers: G Mo WilliamsDorrell WrightCJ McCollum, Thomas Robinson

Lakers: SG Kent Bazemore, PF Jordan Hill, Nick Young, G Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Blazers: Out-C Joel Freeland

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Jordan Farmar, GTD-PG Steve Nash, GTD-C Pau Gasol, GTD-G Xavier Henry

Bottom Line

The Lakers have been a very mysterious team this season, winning vs. teams like TrailBlazers and Thunder, while getting swept by very bad teams like the Milwaukee Bucks this season. On April Fools Day, lets see if the Lakers can fool NBA fans and upset the TrailBlazers tonight. For that to happen, the Lakers have to play very good team defense and make a lot of their shots, similar to how well they shot vs. Knicks last Tuesday to blow them out.

Prediction

Trail Blazers: 117-104