Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

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.

Starters
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

Television

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Portland: CSN (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)

Radio

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

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Matt Barnes (Torn Lateral Meniscus, Right Knee) Out
  • Theo Ratliff (Left Knee Surgery) Out

Blazers:

  • 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
  • 151rummer

    urgh…even after last nites game, Portland makes me nervous. The Rose Garden is not kind to the Lakers at all, kinda like the Charlotte Bobcats….

    • LakerMarc

      2 years in a row….

    • lakersrking

      151rummer dude you think the crowd is not kind you should of been there last night i was there blazer fans actin like us when we play boston nothing but hate but laker fans repping there shit though too blazers acted like that was a playoff game lmao, yall hear the mvp chant and the end this dude next to me started it and the rest of the laker fans go into it, laker in portland games r fun i my opinion blazers fans go so made after the loss there were fights and cops out hella haha

      • Short Perro Slash F U Hater

        Man F portland.
        What the F is that.
        We play for champonships.
        They probably had one to many
        which would of made that fight easier.
        Blazers suck always have always will.
        F the boonies.
        Lakers 8 days 8 nights

  • Pau Gasol The European Mexican

    we got 1 more day lets make a trade. win win win.

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4pv32ob

    • LakerMarc

      not gonna happen ……..Mitch, you have totally surprised me the last 4 years or so…please do it again…pleasant surprises only, please!!

  • Tyler

    Rose Garden…..a freaking house of horrors. Let hope we play with the same energy and great defense like last night and we could win this

    • Tyler

      And now Roy is making his return……Why tonight….Why

      • LakerMarc

        Lakers dude, Lakers! DRAMA!!! Did anyone hear all the Lakers chants and MVP….are we in LA??? WTF?

  • james

    ummm… am i missing something..or are we playing New Orleans today?? Whats goingon??

    • james

      nm..i’m such a dumn ass..

  • juanv

    I swear man Kobe is shooting the lakers into antherdam loss therehas been a few times already where he could have gone inside and he throws up some wild ass shot with 3 people on him this shit has got to stop Phil needs to step the fuk up and yank his ass out the game. This shit is like a routine u already know how the lakers r going to play when he launches 20 shots in a half. This is bullshit Kobedoesnt need to take all these shots

  • 151rummer

    79-71 with 8:00 minutes left? well loox like its back to the drawing board……

    • juanv

      This team is so predictable at the end of games everybody stands around and watch kobe jack shots up this is horrible ball

      • 151rummer

        well its tied….but no reason this team shouldnt have put awau portland earlier….always wait till the last minute. i think laker fans must have the most ulcers of all sports fans

        • 151rummer

          well im glad i was wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • http://thelakersnation.com Joshua Herrington

            LOL! Its a great night to be wrong! Ron stepped up and what great timing. We could’ve been down by 15 going into the second half.
            .
            Luckily we have Kobe, so there was a little relief even though Ron was clutch in the fourth.
            .
            It was a good game overall considering the refs wouldn’t give us a break.
            .
            Go, Lakers!

        • LakerMarc

          151rummer, here here…I’ll drink to that!

    • http://thelakersnation.com Joshua Herrington

      LOL! Its a great night to be wrong! Ron stepped up and what great timing. We could’ve been down by 15 going into the second half.
      .
      Luckily we have Kobe, so there was a little relief even though Ron was clutch in the fourth.
      .
      It was a good game overall considering the refs wouldn’t give us a break.
      .
      Go, Lakers!

  • LakerMarc

    Awesome game Lakers!!! Showing me so much heart and pride fighting for that win. The Lakers of the previous 2 weeks wd have rolled over and accepted the fact that they typically lose in Portland! This team didn’t do that. Congrats!!! Matt coming back next week and The Lakers start clicking (finger crossed behind my back).

  • 1234567

    i think mitch sent his own message to the team. he told em straight up that he will ship your @$$ out after the game if you dont start winning. so i guess we can credit utah and denver for shipping out their all-star players. and thank you ron-ron for coming out and stepping up both defensively and offensively (f*ckin wish you would play like that at least 90% of the time).