Game Five Preview: Lakers look to close out Trail Blazers on Saturday

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers have played an integral part in this week’s boycott of games that nearly ended the season. With the players electing to resume the postseason, they have the opportunity to get a jump on their next opponent if they can close out the hobbled Portland Trail Blazers. Wednesday’s matchup follows a 135-115 rout on Kobe Bryant Day. Speaking of Kobe, the Lakers are looking for their first playoff series win since the 2011-2012 season when they defeated the Denver Nuggets.

Not Much Doubt in Season Being Lost

As mentioned, the team’s title hopes were almost put on hold after the NBA players collectively discussed ending the postseason. Their decision would have been extremely reasonable given the constant tragedies that they’ve had to witness while being sheltered away from those directly affected. Head coach Frank Vogel voiced his feelings on what decision he thought the team may have made as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Melissa Rohlin.

Tests Lie Ahead For LeBron

He’s been in all sorts of playoff games that meet every criterion from closeouts to turning things around from being down 3-1. This particular scenario is wrapped in a very unique set of circumstances as he’s lent his voice to creating NBA executive and player collaboration to fight racism and police brutality. Teams have been kneeling and wearing specialized messages on jerseys in each game, but the world is going to be anticipating what they do next to continue the energy of the last few days. James has always made it a priority to let it be known that once he’s all in, nothing stops his ambitions.

On the floor, James’ experience is going to be a big part of seizing the moment. Playing his best stretch of basketball, LBJ is averaging 34 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. He’s notched a triple-double in the series thus far, averaging 25.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 10.2 assists.

Anthony Davis A Go

All signs point to AD being available after missing the last game’s second half with back spasms. The injury did not appear to be serious, but the team held him out as a precaution. Davis is looking for his second playoff series win against the Portland Trail Blazers after leading a sweep in the 2018 postseason with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Defensive Adjustments

The Lakers will be going into the game without facing Damian Lillard who is out after a right knee sprain. Naturally, the team may look to change their scheme according to the lineup that the Blazers settle with starting. With combined efforts from Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, the Lakers held Lillard to a playoff average of 24.2 points per game after a dazzling 37.6 points in his eight seeding games and play-in matchup.

Tip-off is scheduled for 9PM EST/6PM PST on Saturday night, an update from Wednesday’s boycotted game.

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