Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trail Blazers: Match Preview and Predictions - 28th December 2019
Date & Time: Saturday, 28 December 2019 (10:00 PM ET)
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Last Game Results
Los Angeles Lakers (24-7): 106-111 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers (25 December)
Portland Trail Blazers (14-18): 115-121 loss to the Utah Jazz (26 December)
Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers have found themselves in a recent slump, with four successive defeats. During this losing streak, LeBron James' health has also been a factor of concern for them.
During their defeat by the Clippers on Christmas Day, Kyle Kuzma scored a team-high 25 points on 8-17 shooting, alongside Anthony Davis (24 points, six rebounds) and LeBron (23, 10 ast, 9 rebs). Other than this trio, only one other player - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - was in double-digits with 13 points in 29 minutes.
They will be eager to bounce back and quickly, with tricky tests against the Blazers (14-18) and Dallas Mavericks (20-10) between now and the turn of the year. There are also hopes that LeBron will join them in Portland, according to recent reports.
Key Player: Kyle Kuzma
With LeBron's health a big concern, Kuzma needs to play a bigger role offensively - having dropped 25 points last time out, with 4-9 shooting from three-point range.
The 24-year-old is averaging 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game this season and having suffered with troublesome injuries of late, it's clear he needs to improve to reduce pressure off the shoulders of their two star players. With that in mind, he'll be expected to play a crucial role against the Blazers tonight and presumably do so within the second unit.
Lakers' Predicted Lineup
Lebron James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, Danny Green and Avery Bradley
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
It was a comeback too late in the fourth quarter as the Blazers fell short of a victory against the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
Damian Lillard led the team in points with 34 points, eight assists and four rebounds on the night. He was supported by CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony, who poured in 25 and 12 points respectively.
There was also notable scoring production from the bench, as Anfernee Simons (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Skal Labissiere (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists) were both in double-digits too. However, a tough test against the table-topping Lakers awaits them next.
Key Player: CJ McCollum
With just eight points in the first quarter, CJ McCollum was the flag bearer of the Blazers' last-quarter comeback in the last game. He dropped 17 points in the last quarter and set the game up for an exciting climax.
CJ is averaging 22.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting at a rate of 45.5% from the field this season. If they are to prevail against the Lakers, he needs to be at his best.
Blazers' Predicted Lineup
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside
Lakers vs Blazers Match Prediction
The Blazers have the firepower to upset the Lakers, demanding all the factors to fall in place. They will need a full team effort to stop the forces of LeBron and Davis. After their impressive start to the campaign, the Lakers have started falling and will continue to do so for the next two games, so I am predicting a Blazers' victory tonight.
Where to Watch Lakers vs Blazers?
The game can be watched on TV on SportsNet LA. You can also stream the game live via NBA League Pass.Published 28 Dec 2019, 05:16 IST