The Lakers start a 3-game road trip against the talented young Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers are one of the NBA’s deepest teams, one that always plays the Lakers tough. The Lakers are looking to snap a six-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. The Lakers have dropped their last two road games and the defense was horrible in both. The team should be well rested, focused and ready to play.
The Blazers have the third best home record in the league at 25-6, but barely held on to beat the T-Wolves. They were clearly looking ahead to tonight’s match up, everyone gets up for the Lakers and the team needs to be ready.
The Lakers beat the Blazers 96-76 on 10/28/08 and 100-86 on 1/4/09 at the Staples Center. Despite Los Angeles record at the Rose Garden Kobe Bryant is averaging 35.3 points a game. Brandon Roy’s averaging 28.3 points and is shooting 62% from the field in three home games this month.
The trend that needs to stop is the streak of bad games by Lamar Odom. He has had three subpar games in a row; he had 2 points and 2 boards against Minnesota, 2 points and 13 boards against Memphis and 4 points & 6 boards against Phoenix. He was playing with a sense of urgency when he was inserted into the starting lineup but the only thing going down now are LO’s numbers.
The coaching staff is concerned and hopefully the team will establish Lamar & Pau Gasol in the post him early, come out aggressive and take the crowd out of the game.
Defensively is where this game will be won or lost.
The Lakers need a team effort to control the tempo, glass and need to play solid defensively which includes limiting Portland to one shot per possession, eliminating dribble penetration, getting back in transition and rotating out to three point shooters.
The screen and roll play has been effective against the Lakers all season, this is something that the team has been working on defending in practice. Practice makes permanent, not perfect. Call it a work in progress but the team needs to be on the same page on how they’ll defend it.
For the Lakers defensively, the Blazers most dangerous player is still LaMarcus Aldridge. The Lakers need Lamar Odom to play aggressively and win his match up with Aldridge and limit his scoring. The Lakers are on the road for 10 of their next 13 games and need to approach every game as a playoff game; stay focused & put teams away starting tonight.
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)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee)
- Greg Oden (Knee)
- Martell Webster (Foot)