Team Records: LA Lakers (11-23) at Portland (26-8)
Game Info: 7 PM-TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -12
Refs: Danny Crawford, David Guthrie, Haywoode Workman
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from a tough loss to the Hawks on Saturday as they welcome the Lakers to town. The Lakers have lost seven of their last ten going into Monday’s matchup. LA will be without Kobe Bryant, sitting out Mondays’ game due to his need for rest as LA is on the second half of a back to back. LA is 1-2 this year when Kobe is out.
Last Season: The Blazers won the season series 2-1, winning both games in LA and losing the only game at home. Portland is 25-8 against the Lakers at home in regular season games played since the start of the 1996-97 season.
Projected Lakers Lineup:
PF-Ed Davis (North Carolina-5th Season)-8.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1 APG.
SF-Nick Young (USC-8th Season)-14.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1 APG.
C-Jordan Hill (Arizona-6th Season)-11.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.5 APG.
SG-Wayne Ellington (North Carolina-6th Season)-7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.2 APG.
PG-Ronnie Price (Utah Valley-10th Season)-5.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.6 APG.
Player to Watch-Nick Young (pictured at right)-Swag can come at you off the bench (usually, although he may start due to injuries tonight) just fine thank you very much. Swaggy P is probably the single most confident player in the NBA, convinced that he is the best shooter in the game and always interesting, if not always successful. Young is a streaky shooter who has been having a good year so far, shooting nearly 44% from deep and equally capable of shooting the Lakers into and out of games. Young doesn’t care about passing, with by far the lowest assist rate I’ve ever seen on a guard (just to give you an idea Kobe’s assist rate is about 2.5 times Young’s). He doesn’t particularly care about defense but on offense he can swag it out and make the Lakers competitive, if not exactly successful.
Did You Know?: The Lakers have lost a NBA-high 319 player games to injury so far this year, 45 more than the next most injured team (Denver with 274 games lost).
Song of the Day: “God Bless My SUV” from the Capitol Steps-In honor of LA’s love affairs with their cars. Enjoy:
Portland: Out-C Robin Lopez (Hand), PF/C Joel Freeland (Shoulder)
LA Lakers: Out-SG Kobe Bryant (Rest), PG Steve Nash (Sciatic Pain), PF Julius Randle (Tibia), SF Wesley Johnson (Hip)
There are basically two types of really bad teams, entertaining bad teams like the Kings and depressingly awful and horrible to watch bad teams like the Knicks. The Lakers vacillate between these two types frequently, as they go between looking like they’ve never played basketball before at times to being mildly entertaining in others. LA is last in the league in defense, which should not be surprising given their collection of players that either can’t play or don’t care about playing defense. Their offense is fast paced and average, and they do a good job of not turning the ball over, perhaps because they are near the bottom in assists so they don’t pass the ball very much. Outside of Nick Young and Kobe they rarely shoot 3s and with good reason, they aren’t very good at it. The Lakers are best when they can pound the ball inside, get to the line and simply outscore the other team. Only three of LA’s wins this year came with them scoring less than 100 points, in two of those cases they scored 98 and the other was against the plodding Pacers The Lakers are probably a bit better than their record, however, as they have played all but 11 games against teams with winning records so can be expected to do a bit better when the schedule balances out.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They are focused. The Lakers are bad but they are capable of sneaking up and beating Portland if the Blazers aren’t focused. If Portland is ready to go, this game shouldn’t present too much of a challenge.
LA Lakers win if: They score at least 110 points. The Lakers are awful on defense and so will probably have to score around 110 points if they want a chance to win in Portland.