TLN’s Game Preview: Lakers vs. Blazers

    It is said that the events of the past dictate what the future holds. If you look specifically at the Lakers recent past, the last time we saw them in a game that mattered, they sat sullen on the bench, faces grim, watching their NBA Championship dreams be beaten out of them to the tune of a 39-point massacre.

    Now, you may be curious as to how that moment of pain, despondency and ineptitude will define this Laker team. As I have previously stated in many a pregame article, the 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers were ahead of schedule. The magical run to the NBA Finals should have been viewed as icing. A gift.

    What I am trying to say is that the 39-point blowout-to-end-all-blowouts was the best thing to ever happen to the Los Angeles Lakers.

    But, now it is the eve of the 2008-09 season, and for the Lakers, not much has changed… except for that one crystallizing moment to fuel their desire and hunger for a World Championship.

    So we shift focus, as Uncle Vic the Brick would say, from the darkness of last June into the blinding light of opening night.

    The Lakers come into their inaugural 2008-09 contest after a wildly successful 6-2 preseason, in which reserves Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza turned many fourth quarters into alley-oop exhibitions and Pau Gasol inflicted general fear and clamor into the rest of the league. Lamar Odom joined the second unit as well, and with a potential bench mob of Odom, Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar, the Laker backup line is better than many teams starting line.

    In seasons past, the Lakers have entered as fortune’s fool, be it Kobe’s trade demands or whatever drama Shaquille O’Neal decided to concoct, yet this season, the waters are calm, and it is clear that the era of good feelings is well underway.

    The Lakers opponents enter their season opener as unquestionably one of the leagues most improved team. The Portland Trailblazers sport a veritable triumvirate of Rookie-of-the-Year candidates in the old-man face of Greg Oden, Spanish star Rudy Fernandez and the steal of the 2008 NBA Draft Jerryd Bayless. Add those three young pups with the other Blazer young talent, and you are looking at perhaps the “ahead of schedule” team of this NBA season.

    Television -

    • National: TNT (Kevin Harlan & Doug Collins)
    • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
    • Portland: Comcast SportsNet Northwest (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)

    Radio -

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

    Injuries -

    Will Play:

    • Kobe Bryant: Hyper-Extended Knee
    • Sasha Vujacic: Avulsion Fracture
    • Andrew Bynum: Just feels good to list him here in the “will play” spot.

    Storylines -

    Coby Karl, we hardly knew ye: The Lakers will not carry 15 players on their roster going into the 2008-09 season. The team released Coby Karl, the second year guard who spent all of last season with the Lakers after being an undrafted Rookie, on Monday. I don’t know how to feel, I miss him already.

    Bynum/Oden-Chapter One: The most hyped storyline in tonight’s contest is without a doubt, the first battle between young centers Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden. After years in which the league lacked quality centers, Bynum and Oden lead the charge as the top of the new class of NBA big men. Highlighted by their unique skill sets and unabashed potential to truly become dominant in their careers, this first meeting of these Western giants may foreshadow some future playoff wars.

    Bench Mob 2.0: The bench mob is back. It is stronger, faster and almost unfair to the rest of the league. I don’t want to build it up too much, so I will let this bench mob speak for itself.

    Varsity Challenge -

    (Prize: my discarded tissues, drenched with tears from crying about the departed Coby Karl)

    Prior to introducing the Lakers starting line-ups, what does Public Address announcer Lawrence Tanter tout?

    Note:

    • Freshh

      We pull away and win.

      Oden’s gonna be bynumized

    • Majic “Big” Johnson

      YES!!! The Lake Show is back baby… Let’s play with hearts of champions and bring that golden prize back to L.A.!!!

    • e

      the wait was long but its finally here =)…lakers pull this one away with a win

    • Lakerboi

      It’s about time we play a game….

    • beats are us

      no individual matchups?

      anyways.. go LAKERS!!

    • MIKE SANDERS

      What does tout mean?

    • Zen Master

      LOL ROFL LMAO the Lakers bench mob is indeed better than many, not just some, starting lineups. Better than the Knicks. Can anybody tell which other teams? Cut Luke Walton out of the 2nd strain. Put Chris Mihm in there. Come on now, we remember what he did when he was healthy right?

    • Don

      I don’t know what to expect from the Blazers this early. But I do know this. By the end of the year, the Blazers will be taking it to the L*@kers.

      You don’t have anything to stop us. Bynum isn’t worthy to carry Oden’s shoes. Bryant has already seen his best days – he’s on the way down. Gasol’s no match for Aldridge. Who else ya got?

      I’m kidding of course, it’s going to be a good game and a great season. I’m looking forward to it. Good luck to ya’all, but GO BLAZERS!!

    • http://jamieinsider.celebuzz.com Jamie Spears Insider

      Not sure if I’m right but I would believe Sports Net Canada is not covering the game. I could be wrong. TSN 2 is covering it tonight though =).

    • Edward

      [Comment ID #53237 Will Be Quoted Here]

      Now that’s a reasonable fan. Not like a Celtics fan on this site. It’s nice to see the Blazers have an opportunity to be good.

    • daboss1849

      I woke up with a stiffy today… can’t wait till tonight!!!!

    • aggressive expansion

      i pose a question to all TLN bloggers,readers and fans…

      which LAKER team do you think is better, the 2008-09 team or the 1999-00 championship team with shaq being the season and finals mvp??

    • PeanutButterSpread

      I’m worried aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh I fear the Blazers, I really do.

      I don’t know why, I think it’s because last year, besides the Rockets, the Blazers were one of the teams that gave the Lakers problems.

      I just hope my worries are unfounded. Ugh, the Western Conference is scary good. Scary good.

      Well, go Lakers, please win.

    • DCLAKER

      It was a blessing just to wake up today just to say…..Laker fans,ARE U READDDDDDDDYYYYYYYY?

      This is THEE (that’s right, 2 e’s)most important year for the Lakers.Can they get over hump of a crushing lost to The Smell-tics or Smell-$ics?Will LO play with a vengence and play his playground style of ball to perfection..All Star caliber?Bynum’s knee?Ariza and Farmar,The New Dynamic Duo?Vlad’s defense…is it really better like Phil says?Kobe MVP again?

      All these questions will be rev…….WHUTEVA!LAKER FANS KNOW ONE THING THE MOST IMPORTANT,BRING THAT $$$$IN’ ‘CHIP BACK TO LA!!!!!!!!

    • http://TheVerveNerve.com Billy Kupchak

      [Comment ID #53241 Will Be Quoted Here]

      my stiffy was bigger than yours :cool:

    • PGMVP

      Finally the season of IT’S OUR TURN NOW IS HERE,
      LET’S GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Beat the Blazers

    • CMoeyahoo.com

      This will be the start of many great years between the teams. I’m looking forward to see how the Blazers match up to the WC champions.

      GO Blazers!

      P.S. Yes, I’m a Blazer fan who recognizes how good the Lakers really are.

    • mr.laker19

      Blazers are no joke guys, they have truly the best young talent I’ve ever seen as far as abundance and depth. But we have proven skill. I dont wanna say to much but it is our year, it is our next few years really. When darkness turns to light, it begins tonight, lol. Go LAKESHOW!!!

    • Mitch4Pres

      LAWRENCE TANTER: “And now introducing the franchise with the most wins in NBA history, your Los Angeles Lakerssssssssssssssssssssssssss”

      lets gooooooooooo

    • DCLAKER

      CMoeyahoo.com,your a Blazer fan that is welcomed anytime (talk some trash,of course)your real respectful.I do predict Blazers will be 2nd behind Lakers.

      Joseph could learn a few things about respect from CMoe.

      PIERCEISONCRACK.com,just say no.Should’ve been the answer when he was asked “Are you better than Kobe”? BOSTON STILLS SUCKS like a prostitute at a Bar Mitvah for Hugh Hefner’s son.

    • Andrew Rafner

      [Comment ID #53242 Will Be Quoted Here]

      99-00. wayyyyy more experienced

    • http://youtube.com/MvpGoesToKobe LakersNewDynasty08

      [Comment ID #53261 Will Be Quoted Here]

      I actually think this team is much better then 99-00

    • aggressive expansion

      i’ll say this much, the ’99-’00 team was a very,very good team but I think this team is more entertaining and more fun to watch, this is as close as you can get to showtime with the second unit of farmar,ariza,odom and you coulb probably throw gasol and bryant together with those three. i think we’re deeper this year than before. but right now as it stands the 99-00 teams is better. they got a ring after all.

    • Kb_24mvp

      hey laker fam!!! i dont know about u guys but i cant wait for this season to start already!!! i have been patiently waiting for this season, i almost got fired when we lost in the finals i didnt go to work for like 4 days!! i was depressed lol!!!

      All i know is that we are gonna destroy the blazers and any other team that gets in our way… christmas comes along, we are gonna beat down on those celtics!!

      My predictions,

      Mr. Kobe Bryant= MVP
      Mr. Andrew Bynum= Definsive player of the year
      Mr. LO= sixth man

      Finally Lakers 08 09 Champions, anything less then that is a failure!!

    • Andrew Rafner

      [Comment ID #53279 Will Be Quoted Here]

      i think the edge has to go to that 99-00 team because the just BOATraced the league that year. they had three winning streaks of 10+ games.

      i honestly do not think that it is comparable. different eras, different opponents.

    • yellowpurplefever

      This Blazers team is really good, BUT no experience. I have been waiting for this since last season. I am more excited about this game than vs. Suns, Spurs or Utah. Andrew vs. Oden. Lets get it on!!(manly) not lets get it on(barry white.
      Do not underestimate these youngsters. Just get our W and move on.

    • http://www.bodynbeautycare.com Men Cologne

      Well said, finally a good report on this stuff