Preview: Lakers face off against Blazers in battle of back-courts

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a mostly successful preseason thus far and will be looking to add to that when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. The game will be played at 7:30 PM PST and will be televised on Spectrum Sportsnet.

The main attraction for the game will be the battle of the back-courts. The Lakers have a burgeoning, young duo in their back-court in D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. While Clarkson has played off the bench thus far, both guards have had spectacular moments and shown strong growth in their three games.

But Russell and Clarkson will have their hands full with the Blazers’ own combination. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum make up one of the league’s best duos in the back-court. McCollum, last year’s most improved player, has suddenly turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league while Lillard has long been a leader of the franchise.

The Blazers’ back-court actually mirrors the Lakers’ in many ways. Both show immense talent on the offensive end while giving up a ton, defensively. Much like the Lakers’ use of Clarkson, the Blazers use McCollum as the primary backup point guard, despite his starting next to Lillard.

Russell and Clarkson have a ways to go before they reach Lillard and McCollum but things are looking promising. Both of the Lakers’ guards have shown growth and improvement on the defensive end. Russell seems to be on the verge of breaking out as a go-to player, offensively, and Clarkson continues his steady play on that end.

Beyond the back-court battle, Lakers fans can look forward to Julius Randle, who had his best game of the preseason on Sunday against the Nuggets. He will hope to continue on that path as he showed efficiency and patience in his scoring while looking to get other players involved with his passing.

Luol Deng is expected to play after missing the previous two games with a bruised knee. That will put the team’s rotation back in order after back-to-back games of Metta World Peace and Nick Young starting at small forward.

Brandon Ingram will also be a player to watch as he looks to finally get going offensively. The second overall pick has struggled to score but has shown remarkable poise and defensive ability. He will likely be matched up against the likes of Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner where his length may allow him to find the mark over smaller defenders.

This will be another interesting game for the Lakers. The Blazers are the best team they have faced up to this point so it will be a challenge to continue this strong play against them. However, with D’Angelo Russell leading the way, anything is possible.

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