Coming off a narrow victory against the supposedly tanking Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers are above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2016 season, sitting at seven wins and six losses.
Currently, on a three-game winning streak, the Lakers are also bringing along with them a one-game winning streak against the Trail Blazers, having previously lost 16 games straight to the team from the Rose City.
Portland (11-3) is on a winning streak of their own, as they have won the last four games after losing to the Lakers, including a narrow win against the Boston Celtics on November 11 in which Portland’s Jusef Nurkic came up big with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
In Tyson Chandler, the Lakers seem to have found their back up big man to help anchor the second unit, his presence in the paint helping secure a win against the Timberwolves, as his work on the offensive boards kept the Lakers in the game. Most recently, Chandler had a hand, or quite literally a finger in the victory against the Hawks as he was able to get a touch of Trae Young’s layup as time expired to help LA eke out another W.
Since joining the Lakers, Chandler has been averaging 8.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
Los Angeles once again had a hard time closing out their game against Atlanta. There have already been too many late game collapses for the Lakers during this young season and it will be interesting how the Lakers will respond to a team as hot as the Blazers.
Fingers are being pointed and as reported, Lebron’s patience has been tested. But he isn’t free of blame as his lack of defensive intensity has caused multiple games to be closer than they should. There have been multiple personnel questions since the season has rolled on.
There has been a lot of chatter among those online and in the media about Luke Walton’s management of lineups and who should close out games. With all of the rage going towards the 3rd year head coach and the handling of Lonzo Ball, it has yet to be seen if the second-year guard can do enough to keep himself on the floor against the duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as his defense could be vital for a win. If he stays aggressive and can contribute the same way he did against Atlanta (despite not scoring much) the Lakers can start up a win streak against the remaining northwestern NBA team.
The Lakers will host the Blazers at 7:30 PM and the game will be televised on ESPN and Spectrum SportsNet.