The Lakers will play their last road game of the regular season against the talented young Portland Trailblazers. The team will make this trip without Coach Phil Jackson due to injury. Led by solid performances from Kobe & Pau, The Lakers dispatched the Nuggets on Thursday.
The Blazers are one of the NBA’s deepest teams, one that always plays the Lakers tough. The Lakers are looking to snap a 7-game losing streak at the Rose Garden.
This is the longest active streak against the purple and gold by any team. This has become one of the Lakers house or horrors and said streak needs to stop, tonight.
Conventional thinking would have you believe that the surging Lakers on a 5-game winning streak, experiencing an emotional lift with the return to the line-up of Andrew Bynum and locking up the number one seed in the Western Conference Playoffs weeks ago would make them an overwhelming favorite.
Portland playing at home will be considered the favorite due to the streak and playing at home seeing as the home team has won all three games this season. You can add to that the fact that the Blazers were able to overcome a 19-point deficit in San Antonio to beat the Spurs in April. This is impressive but the fact of the matter is that the Lakers know what time it is and what is at stake.
The Lakers realize that the Blazers are tied for 4th in the West, battling Houston for 3rd place in the West and have reached 50-wins. There is a good chance the every team in the Western Conference Playoffs will have 50+ wins. Most importantly the Lakers realize that this back-to-back game is a playoff game and are back at full strength and prepared to exact a little revenge on the Blazers.
The Lakers need to control the tempo, glass and need to limit Portland to one shot per possession, Stop the dribble penetration, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters.
The Blazers are getting a strong effort from their 9-man rotation and this team always gets up for the Lakers. This is a game that the Lakers need to have a high energy level and run their triangle offense to perfection. I want to see excellent player movement and excellent ball movement from the team as well as see them attack the basket.
L.A. needs to establish Pau & Andrew in the post and allow them to set the table for everyone else. This is the sure basket time of the year and with two 7-footer’s starting, one being a shot-blocker, the defense will improve.
Tipoff: 7:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Portland: Comcast Sportsnet – Northwest (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Portland: News radio 750 AM (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
- None to report.
- Martell Webster (Foot)