Remember when Portland (38-39) went on a 13-game winning streak in December and folks thought that they would be in the thick of the playoff chase come April?
Yeah, well, the Trailblazers are now one game under .500 and enter tonight’s contest with the Lakers (53-24) riding a 5-game losing streak.
On top of that, the Blazers lost starting Center and leading rebounder Joel Pryzbilla during Sunday’s loss to the Spurs due to a broken hand.
On the bright side for Rip City, October is a short 6 months away! With the return of Greg Oden imminent and another lottery pick coming, the Blazers are only going to get better. Not to mention, General Manager Kevin Pritchard is one of the shrewdest Draft Day dealers, so look for even more surprises come late June.
As far as tonight is concerned, the Lakers look to take the season series at the Rose Garden after last weeks 13-point victory that saw the return of Pau Gasol to the lineup after a 9 game absence.
With only 5 games left to play, the Lakers will most likely have to win out the remainder of their schedule in order to earn the Western Conference’s top seed. This may seem arduous and daunting, yet, with the adversity and seemingly insurmountable tasks this team has been faced with, it is well within reach.
Utah @ New Orleans - After trouncing the Spurs on Friday night, the Jazz look to wreak more havoc on the upper echelon of the Western Conference. The Hurrnets are coming in hot, winning nine of their last ten and they look to expand their hold on the Western Conferences top spot.
Phoenix @ Memphis - An epic battle of former Laker Centers. Shaq versus Kwame! Okay, doesn’t sound as exciting as I thought. Yet, the Suns who are trying to leapfrog over the Rockets for the 5th seed, cannot afford a disappointment in Memphis.
San Antonio - Idle.
Los Angeles: KCAL 9/HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
Dallas: Comcast SportsNet Northwest (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
Portland: KXL-750 (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
- Out: A. Bynum (Knee), T. Ariza (Foot)
- Will Play: K. Bryant (Finger), D. Fisher (Foot)
- Game-Time Decision: L. Walton (Hamstring)
- Out: J. Pryzbilla (Hand), D. Miles (Knee), G. Oden (Knee)
- Will Play: B. Roy (Groin)
- Game-time Decision: M. Webster (Irregular Heartbeat)
Can Lamar Remain Consistent? After arguably his best contest as a Laker on Friday against the Mavericks, in which he scored a season high of 31 points and managed to pull down 10 boards, Lamar continued his impressive play Sunday in Sacramento. He tallied 16 points on 7-8 shooting, and most importantly, he attacked the basket. Will this aggressive play hold up? Or is it just another trademark L.O. tease.
Keeping Pace: With San Antonio idle, and New Orleans taking on a very difficult Utah team, tonight is a perfect opportunity to charge toward that number one seed in the West.
Varsity Challenge -
(Prize- A fantasy dream date with Frank Hamblen)
Laker forward Luke Walton is named after which member of the 1977 World Champion Trailblazers?