The Los Angeles Lakers get their season underway on Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Here are three things to look for during the game:
- Longtime Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen passed away on Monday, and he was well loved by the fans. Portland historically has been a tough place for the Lakers to play, and with the emotions running high in Moda Center, expect a tough matchup.
- LeBron James makes his regular season debut for the Lakers. James is arguably the best player in basketball history and he starts his journey to make an impact on a franchise with so many historically great players and teams. You can expect great things on a nightly basis from James, but during his Lakers debut, he might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The decision to leave Cleveland after four straight finals appearances left some to wonder if this wasn’t a basketball move, but a decision to further his business opportunities. James and the Lakers look to silence those critics right away.
- The Lakers signed a bunch of new, controversial role players in the offseason. Watching them mesh on the court during a meaningful game will be a sign for the rest of the season. They all have very dynamic personalities, and fitting them all on the court at the same time will result in some interesting basketball. Meanwhile, the Blazers will be led by Damian Lillard who is apparently LeBron’s target as a future teammate.
Score prediction: I’m ready to be 100 percent wrong on these all season, but I’m going to say it will be a close loss: Blazers 109, Lakers 105. The Blazers are currently betting favorites for the upcoming game by about three points. The emotions will be high from the Blazers and the Lakers will try to match that but fall short. Also, JaVale McGee will score 101 points for the Lakers.