The (39-19) Los Angeles Lakers are in Oregon for a back-to-back game against the (32-24) Portland Trailblazers.
The Lakers are an impressive 9-2 in back-to-back games. They started the second half of the season the right way by ending a three-game skid and beating the Atlanta Hawks by 24 points. They used a balanced offense and a stifling defense to destroy them.
The Lakers have a tough stretch of games to play in the next two weeks. In eight of the next 11 games, they face a playoff caliber opponent.
The Purple and Gold Clad Warriors showed the defensive intensity and offensive cohesion of a champion on Tuesday night. This is crunch time and they realize that fact and as well answered Kobe Bryant’s ‘role call’. It is imperative that they consistently play with the same type of effort and energy for the remainder of the season.
The Lakers face the Blazers in their personal house of horrors; the Rose Garden. The Lakers won the first game of the four game season series. However, they lost the season series to Portland last year. They have not won a season series against the Blazers since the 2004-05 season. In fact, they’ve won only two regular season series against the Blazers in the last two decades… combined.
The Lakers win at the Rose Garden on 2/6/10 snapped a nine-game losing streak. The red-hot TrailBlazers have won their last six games. Despite the injuries, other players have stepped up and filled the void. LaMarcus Aldridge has been their leading scorer, but Portland has had balanced scoring.
Portland is clearly playing through LaMarcus Aldridge and he has delivered. He’s averaged 26.3 points and 9.7 rebounds since December 15. There is a chance that the Blazers could have Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby back from injury tonight.
The Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration of Andre Miller, shut down the screen and roll plays, control the tempo of the game, get back in transition and quickly rotate out to open shooters. Also, they need to establish Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in the post.
Portland might play Nicolas Batum at the four spot a little tonight. I want to see Batum match up with either Lamar Odom or Ron Artest.
This writer is looking forward to seeing the Lakers play with a balanced offense and a stifling defense and Andrew Bynum being aggressively rebounding and being an absolute beast on defense.
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Blazers: A. Miller, W. Matthews, N. Batum, L. Aldridge, D. Cunningham
Tip-off: 7:30 PM
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Portland: CSN (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Portland: 95.5 FM (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
- Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out
- SG Brandon Roy (Knee Injury) Out
- C Greg Oden (Knee Injury) Out
- PF Marcus Camby (Knee Injury) Out
- PF Sean Marks (Injured Left Hand) Day-to-Day