The argument can be made that the Lakers played down to their competition in the previous game against the Raptors. It can also be said that they escaped. A strong point could be made by stating that the Purple and Gold had to face some adversity for the first time this season. For those that don’t know, DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson are local kids that came home and put up strong efforts for their friends, family and employers. DeRozan went to USC and Johnson starred at Westchester High School.
The game against the Raptors was a unique mixture of both good and bad things. The good can be summed up easily, Lakers forced 21 turnovers and now possess six wins this season.
Now the bad; check that, the unacceptable, the Lakers defense et al! The Lakers surrendered a 13-point lead in the process of being outscored 38-22 in the second quarter. They were outrebounded; the Raptors also won the interior battle by scoring more points in the paint, got out in transition and scored more fast break points.
The Lakers are a veteran team that knows that everything starts and ends with their defense. It is time for this Lakers team to re-dedicate itself to defense and rebounding. This is the deepest Lakers team coached by Phil Jackson but trust me when I say they’ll figure it out.
The Lakers lost the season’s series against the Trailblazers last year; the most disappointing was a three-point loss on April 11th of this year. The have struggled mightily against the Trailblazers in Portland. They did however post and impressive win at the Rose Garden last year with Kobe out injured snapping a nine-game losing streak.
The Lakers are 15 – 5 against the Trailblazers at Staples Center. The Trailblazers are a talented team; to beat them you have to focus on turning All-Star guard Brandon Roy into a playmaker while making him work hard for everything. It would be wise to force LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicholas Batum to use their mid-range game and not allow them to attack the basket. Plus, Andre Miller does an excellent job of running the offense for the Blazers. The Lakers have to stop his dribble penetration and entice him becoming a scorer. Moreover, Marcus Camby anchors one the leagues best defensive team.
I want to see the Lakers control the tempo, get back in transition and play solid pick and roll defense. They need to limit Portland to one shot per possession, challenge every shot and rotate out to three point shooters.
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (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)
- Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
- Luke Walton (Hamstring Strain)
- Theo Ratliff (Sore Left Knee) Probable
- Greg Oden (Knee) Out
- Joel Pryzbilla (Knee) Out
- Rudy Fernandez (Back)