Lakers Vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Lakers Face Third Best Team In NBA Reviewed by Momizat on . After an impressive three-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers return home to face one of the hottest teams in the league, the Portland Trail Blazers. During After an impressive three-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers return home to face one of the hottest teams in the league, the Portland Trail Blazers. During Rating: 0
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Lakers Vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Lakers Face Third Best Team In NBA

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After an impressive three-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers return home to face one of the hottest teams in the league, the Portland Trail Blazers. During the off-season, the Blazers were one of the most active teams in free agency and brought in numerous veterans to address their weak bench. As a result, Portland has gotten off to one of their best starts in franchise history thanks to the dynamic duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. With Kobe Bryant not making his return against the Blazers, the Lakers will need to continue playing with good energy on both ends if they want to be two games over the .500 mark. Here’s the analysis of Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers:

Frontcourt: LaMarcus Aldridge is playing at an All-Star level once again this season, averaging 22.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. While there were rumors in the off-season that he wanted to be traded, Aldridge has gotten help from his frontcourt mates, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez. While Batum has continued to put up strong numbers, the acquisition of Robin Lopez has enabled Aldridge to play less minutes at center. Lopez has averaged 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds while providing a solid defensive presence in the paint. With Chris Kaman out of the rotation, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill will need to do a better job of defending the paint and limiting the Blazers to one possession.

Backcourt: Coming off Rookie of the Year honors, Damian Lillard has continued to play well in his sophomore season by averaging 19.9 points and 5.7 assists while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. After struggling the past two seasons with injuries, Wesley Matthews has emerged as a top five three-point shooter in the league to go along with his solid defensive abilities. With a strong backcourt, the Laker guards will need to do their best to keep them out of the paint.

Keys to Lakers’ Victory:
Defend the Three: The Trail Blazers are in the top 10 in three point attempts this season, but have the third best percentage (41.5%) behind the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. It’ll be important for the Lakers to run them off the three point line and have the Blazers take long, contested twos.

One Possession Only: Against the Pistons, the Lakers gave up 22 offensive rebounds and 76 points in the paint. The Trail Blazers are well aware of those two statistics and will try to punish Los Angeles in the paint without no real shot blockers besides Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson. As a result, not only do the big men for the Lakers need to play with more energy, but the guards need to help out instead of waiting for the outlet pass.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Lakers are favored by 3.5 points according to Sportsbook.

Portland Trail Blazers (13-3) at Los Angeles Lakers (9-8)
6:30 PM PST, December 1, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: 710 ESPN (English)/ 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Trail Blazers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Robin Lopez

Key Reserves: G: Mo Williams, F: Thomas Robinson, F: Dorell Wright

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About The Author

Dan Duangdao is the Editor-in-Chief of Lakers Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DanDuangdao

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  • Daryl Peek

    If Gasol can take advantage of his experience over Lopez, I think the Lakers match up well against the Blazers 1-5. Aldridge could be a problem with his long range jumpers against Hill, and Williams is not strong enough to check him in the post but I think we can manage that. Johnson can neutralize Batum, and Meeks should do well against Mathews. Blake will scrap against Lillard but we can’t expect Steve to hold him all game. Bench, advantage Lakers.

    They can do this, early statement game, GO LAKERS!

    • Al Haldie

      We will need some help from KAMAN– WITH SACRE—Pau is going to need a little more rest-STILL TOO MANY MIN FOR GASOL…

      • Daryl Peek

        Too many minutes for Pau?!? You do realize he’s playing the least amount of minutes per game he ever has in his entire career? If anything he needs more PT to get into a better rhythm.

        I’d Like to see Kaman get more Pt over Sacre. I like Robert but he cannot produce like Chris.

        • Al Haldie

          I guess there are some things u dont understand -Pau has a bad ankle same as Hill u might study a little more befor u go jumping on what has been said… long time lakers fan

          • Daryl Peek

            I guess you need to learn to trust Gary Viti the paid team doctor. He’s not gonna put players in jeopardy. Never has since the early 80′s. Fact check before you make assumptions beyond your reach.

            D’Antoni has been phasing Pau into the rotations playing him less minutes all season. Pau even complained about it early on, citing it as reason he’s finding it hard to get into a rhythm.

          • Al Haldie


          • Daryl Peek

            Mild ankle sprain. That is far from a debilitating injury. Pau may not even miss any time behind this. If it were Kobe there would be no mention of it.

            Again Pau was seen by the doctor after making mention of it and they diagnosed the problem. TRUST DR. VITI

          • Al Haldie

            Please there is only one KOBE- and who are we to say GASOL could play through it ????

          • Daryl Peek

            I’m not one to say it I just take the word from the horses mouth, and Pau was fully practicing today with the intent of playing through it…

      • jeremy

        he not really getting that many he avg about 31 min a game that pretty good number for him when he use to get 36+ min in years past.

        • Al Haldie

          That was in ref: to his bad ankle-same as hill they are both having trouble…. long time lakers fan…

  • LakersHeatBeef

    I watched the Blazers play the Warriors on NBA League Pass and they looked rough and tough tbh and won that game.When Blazers played the Suns i watched it on NBA League Pass replay and the Suns shot 3 pointers on them and they roughed them up to stop their 12 game winning streak.

    The Lakers gotta somehow contain Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge.Also Steve Blake is from the Pacific Northwest and he is a former Blazers player he seems to always play good against the Blazers.

    Pau Gasol can school Robin Lopez,we need a huge game from Pau Gasol like a 25 points and 10 rebounds effort.Yes Jordan Hill will have his hands full with Aldridge but if we can get Aldridge into early foul trouble that will bode well for the Lakers.Wesley Johnson and Batum is a decent matchup because both players are tall and lengthy with similar skills on defense.Batum is a better offense player than Wesley.Jodie and Mathews is a draw IMO,both are streaky shooters whoever gets hot wins that battle.

    Our bench is way better than the Blazers bench,big advantage to the Lakers plus the Lakers got the crowd at the Staples Center on their side.Home court advantage will be crucial for the Lakers in this game.Lakers gotta play tough hard nosed defense in order to win this game tbh.

    Go Lakers!

  • roseducanna

    Coach M.D rotation too bad.Players’ played minutes too long like GASOL and FARMA.

  • Martin Susman

    Robin is not his brother Brook, Gasol should be on top of this & I want Pau to play GREAT so we can trade him FAST for first round picks…

  • Jim213

    IMO, after watching a few Blazer games and especially the one against the Warriors where they came back and out played the Warriors after Mo Williams was ejected of the game shows that the Blazers have a lot of heart. For the Lakers to win both units will need to out hustle the Blazers which includes limiting second shot opportunities.

    The Blazers starting lineup is averaging close to a 40% FG%. Who ever plays the 4 and 5 will need to make sure to not allow too many 2nd chance opportunities. Thus, limiting M Aldridge’s contributions inside along with pressuring and staying on W Matthews to limit his shooting being 55% FG, but especially 3P% = over 50% will benefit the Lakers if they show up and play 48 minute game. One advantage for the lakers is that they’re playing at home which translates to a better shooting % for the team.

    Although, Lillard struggles at times he has ability to shoot extremely well when he gets hot. but whoever plays the knows thaty’ll have to keep up with him to limit his contribution. The Lakers can increase their odds by limiting their turnovers as both teams avg about the same #s. tricky game for the Lakers as they’ll need to show up and play at all phases given that the Blazers have been and may continue to be the surprise in the West.

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