Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Kurt —  February 29, 2008

Records: Lakers 41-17 (1 seed); Blazers 30-28 (10 seed, five games out of the playoffs)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.6 (2nd); Blazers 107.7 (14th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.8 (6th); Blazers 108.8 (19th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Blazers: Martel Webster, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla

Lakers Notes: What can I say about how much fun the Lakers are to watch right now, and how much fun they are having on the court, that is not summed up in this clip:

How Good Are The Blazers Going To Be? I made a bet with Dave from the fine Blazer’s Edge blog on this game: The losing team’s blogger has to write a post for the other blog on why the Blazers/Lakers are to be feared in the coming years.

Mostly, I agreed because it should mean I have a day off from blogging, Dave will do my work. But, even if the Lakers lose (because the ref’s screw us over, no doubt) it should not be hard to write about how good the Blazers should be in a couple years. I’d like your help with that though: Why do you think the Blazers will be good? And I’ll start by saying, I love me some LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Blazers Coming In: Statistically, the Blazers are not one of the NBA’s better rebounding teams — but you never would have known that watching the Lakers/Blazers game two nights ago. With Aldridge leading the way, the Blazers outworked the Lakers for rebounds and grabbed 23.9% of their missed shots.

That’s a sign of this team’s desire, if nothing else. Aldridge outworked the Lakers and was 10 of 19 for 24 points. He and the emerging Travis Outlaw outplayed the Laker forwards by and large and kept the Blazers a head or at least close until the start of the fourth quarter, when the Lakers pulled away shooting 53% for the quarter to the Blazers 35%. Kobe was 4 of 8 and a +10 in the fourth quarter to lead LA.

Keys To The Game: Conflicting reports on whether Roy will play, although the ones out of Portland say no. Three-point shooter James Jones should suit up this time, however.

The Lakers need to be more aggressive on the boards tonight. Luke Walton cannot sleepwalk through another game against the very athletic Outlaw. (With both Ariza and Radmanovic out, he can’t have these off nights.) And for god sake’s put a body on Aldridge. I’d like Ronny to get some extra time on him — he’ll get in foul trouble but his energy at least will match LaMarcus.

In the last Laker win LA dominated on the perimeter, they need to do that again. Also the Lakers bench was huge — Portland had 10 points off the bench total, Farmar had 21 by himself. The Lakers depth should pay off tonight, on the second game of a back-to-back.

Where you can watch: Another 7:30 start, with KCAL (9) in LA and League Pass everywhere else.