The Portland Trail Blazers visit Staples Center to face the reigning NBA champions, the LA Lakers. The two Western Conference teams met in last season's playoffs in the first round. The LA Lakers got the better of the Portland Trail Blazers and ended their season in five games. This is the first time the teams have met since that playoff series and – with Anthony Davis possibly sidelined – the Portland Trail Blazers hope to secure a victory .
The Portland Trail Blazers vs LA Lakers game might hinge on the Carmelo Anthony-LeBron James matchup, a showdown Anthony is reportedly looking forward to.
The LA Lakers will look to get the best of Damian Lillard and co. on this occasion as well. This game is one of the top matchups of the night as it features several of the league's best players.
Best starting 5 between the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Lakers
The LA Lakers home game features several future Hall of Famers and All-Stars; undoubtedly, their combined starting 5 would be remarkable. The starting 5 would be fairly obvious as there aren't many players to challenge the stars. Let's take a look:
Point Guard - Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
An obvious choice for this position, Damian Lillard has evolved into a superstar in this league. He holds the largest guaranteed contract in NBA history at $257 million over six seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, and he was ranked seventh on ESPN's list of the league's Top 100 Players this season.
Damian Lillard is often mentioned while talking about the top point guards in the NBA and the Portland Trail Blazers' hopes of an NBA title lie on his shoulders. Often drawing double teams at half court, he is usually the defense's focus as he continues to erupt for huge numbers.
Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
CJ McCollum has been averaging incredible numbers over the past few seasons but has never been an All-Star selection. He is one of the league's best shot creators and his backcourt partnership with Damian Lillard is considered one of the best in the NBA.
CJ McCollum has taken up the team's scoring responsibility many times, often going on streaks and dropping 40-point games. He is certainly one of the Portland Trail Blazers' most important players.
Small Forward - LeBron James (LA Lakers)
Considered one of the best players to have ever played the game, LeBron James is the face of the LA Lakers franchise. He has been an All-Star every year except his rookie campaign – 17 seasons – and is a four-time league MVP and Finals MVP. He is the only active player with four titles to his name and is looking to repeat after winning the championship last season.
LeBron James has been called a "basketball savant" on many occasions by his former teammates and coaches. He has several records to his name and is in the top 3 all-time in many statistical categories. LeBron James led the LA Lakers to an NBA title last season and is looking to repeat.
Power Forward - Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)
Anthony Davis is making an argument that he's one of the best power forwards in the league. He brings an array of skills to the offensive end while maintaining exemplary defense. Anthony Davis finished the 2019-20 season sixth in MVP voting and second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Anthony Davis has been called one of the best partners LeBron James has ever had and after winning the title last season, he is looking to go back-to-back. Anthony Davis has led the LA Lakers in scoring multiple times and since LeBron James will be on minutes-restriction a lot this season, the burden of the team's victories will fall on Davis' shoulders.
Center - Jusuf Nurkic (Portland Trail Blazers)
Jusuf Nurkic has been the Portland Trail Blazers' bona fide center since 2016. He has been averaging double-digit rebounds (10.5) and points (17.1) for the past two years and he remains one of the team's important pieces. Nurkic has developed a great passing game and his assists have gone up every year to an average of 4.0 per game last season.
Jusuf Nurkic didn't take 3-pointers for his first six seasons but has now developed the confidence to hit from beyond the arc occasionally. The Bosnian center stands at 7-feet tall and weighs 290 lbs., making him an incredible rim protector. He averaged a career-high 2 blocks per game last season.Published 28 Dec 2020, 06:48 IST