The Los Angeles Lakers will be taking on the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow as a part of the first-round playoff series between the first and eighth-seeded teams. Although there really arent any players who might have played on the opposing team once in their careers, the teams have many players who have grown accustomed to running into each other over the years. LeBron James has talked about Damian Lillard many times today, as you can tell he really respects his game. Lillard and the Trail Blazers know what Anthony Davis can bring to the table, as Davis’ Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers in the first-round of the 2018 playoffs. Rajon Rondo was also on that team, as there’s no shortage of familiarity between these two teams.
There’s also some added familiarity between LeBron James and Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, as the two have famously been best friends with each other in addition to the other “Banana Boat” guys, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. Both were asked about the matchup, with both having some interesting comments about the opposing team.
LeBron spoke about the obvious, how the Lakers will have their hands full with Lillard and his long-time backcourt running mate, CJ McCollum. He echoed Frank Vogel’s comments from a couple of days ago, stating that they are not your “typical 8th seed” (reported by Lauren Jones of The LA Sentinel/Uninterrupted).
LeBron James on scouting the Blazers: He described Dame and CJ as a "two-headed monster. They've been the rock of that franchise. They're that dangerous. They are the best scoring team in the seeding games in the bubble. They're not your typical 8th seed."
— Laurantine (@LoJoMedia) August 17, 2020
Carmelo Anthony likened the matchup between the two teams to a boxing fight, and also said the following (reported by Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated).
“This is a chess game. More of a mental challenge than a physical challenge,” Blazers forward @carmeloanthony on getting ready for @KingJames. Melo also says “we are out there trying to win” and compared Lakers-Blazers to a boxing match.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) August 17, 2020
These two teams are surely veteran-heavy, so Carmelo may not be far off there saying that it’ll be more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. Still, the Lakers do have the edge when it comes to physically, bolstered by Anthony Davis’ presence and helped by Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee. Although the Trail Blazers now have Jusuf Nurkić, he alone will not be able to stop the Lakers’ size while Hassan Whiteside has trouble even staying on the court.
Carmelo and LeBron may matchup more often than not in this series, so it will definitely be fun to see the two best friends trying to score on each other as much as they can.