The Purple and Gold are coming off of a loss to the Clippers in the hallway series by snapping their 8-game winning streak against them, coincidentally the Lakers are looking to snap their own 8-game losing streak to the Trail Blazers.
The Rose Garden has become the Lakers’ house of horrors. Despite the fact that Los Angeles has played very well over the years and have had Championship runs, they’ve also had their butts whipped convincingly in Portland. The Lakers are seeking their first win at the Rose Garden since February 2005. The question ever since, what’s the problem?
It is really a mixture of things; slow starts, poor play, poor execution and simply being outplayed. The Blazers are a good young team that plays the Lakers tough at home
The Blazers are a team that has been ravaged with injuries that they’ve seemed to overcome, losing the services of six of their top-10 players. Both centers are out for the season, and their head coach Nate McMillan has also had a knee injury.
The Lakers are still dealing with an injury themselves, the loss of All-Star power forward Pau Gasol.
It is a no brainer to say that the Lakers should start their offense in the post and pound the Blazers on the inside. It is a must that the Lakers own the glass and out-rebound this team, and destroy them in the painted area. However, the Blazers still can generate a lot of offense with several remaining healthy players led by All-Star Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Andre Miller.
The Lakers defense improved with the return of Ron Artest, but remains a work in progress. The Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration, box out and rebound as well as rotate out to open shooters. They will continue to see screen and roll plays.
Tonight Brandon Roy will handle the ball in these situations. Portland can play him in the post, score inside or outside and makes good decisions with the ball. The Lakers have had issues defending Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge in the past. Perhaps we will see some cross matching defensively where Ron Artest will defend Aldridge in the post while Lamar Odom with defend Martell Webster on the perimeter.
Aldridge will be a problem when he is setting the screen on screen and roll plays because of his ability to make mid-range shots.
The Lakers have to play solid defense and out-work the Blazers, get off to good start, and jump on this team early, get Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest & Lamar Odom going in the painted area.
This will take the crowd out of the game and should get Portland in foul trouble; the Blazers don’t have a lot of front court depth.
Tip-off: 7:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL & ESPN (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Portland: CSN (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Portland: 95.5 FM (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- Luke Walton (Back)
- Greg Oden (Knee) Out for the Season
- Joel Pryzbilla (Knee) Out for the Season
- Steve Blake (Pnuemonia) Out for Tonight’s Game
- Nicholas Batum (Shoulder)
- Rudy Fernandez (Sciatic Pain)
- Travis Outlaw (Left Foot)