The LA Lakers will play their first back-to-back of the season against last year's playoff opponents Portland Trail Blazers. Although the former has had the edge for over a year now, both these franchises have aspirations of dominating the Western Conference.
Fixture: Portland Trail Blazers vs LA Lakers | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Monday, December 28th, 10 PM ET (Tuesday, 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have had a rough start to the 2020-21 season. They were blown out by the Utah Jazz in the opener and were stretched to overtime by a seriously shorthanded Houston Rockets side. Damian Lillard is yet to find his rhythm but luckily, CJ McCollum is on a tear and averaging 33.5 points per game.
Defense continues to be the Portland Trail Blazers' biggest shortcoming. It led to their downfall last season and history could repeat itself. Their frontcourt isn't in a rich vein of form either. Enes Kanter provides offense off the bench but can't protect the basket while Robert Covington is yet to find his footing on either end.
Key Player- Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard had 32 points in the Portland Trail Blazers' win against Houston but shot the ball at less than 40%. Lillard has a huge task ahead of him because scoring against the LA Lakers isn't that easy. He'll also be expected to move the ball well to involve frontcourt players such as Jusuf Nurkic and Carmelo Anthony in the offense.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G CJ McCollum, F Robert Covington, F Derrick Jones Jr., C Jusuf Nurkic
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have unmatched depth in the NBA right now. They torched the Minnesota Timberwolves with ease last night without the services of Anthony Davis who sat out with a right calf contusion. Kyle Kuzma made the most of this opportunity, scoring 20 points on 66% shooting from the field.
The acquisition of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell has really boosted the LA Lakers on both ends of the court. Marc Gasol is finally showing his court vision and ability to spread the floor. As a result, the Purple and Gold are playing with renewed vigor following their opening day blip.
Key Player - LeBron James
LeBron James has only played 29 minutes per game so far but is still having the needed impact. LeBron's numbers have reduced as a result and he's only averaging 20.7 points, 6.7 assists, and seven rebounds so far. However, he's facilitating the involvement of his LA Lakers teammates well and would want to do the same against the Portland Trail Blazers.
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F LeBron James, F Anthony Davis, C Marc Gasol
Blazers vs Lakers Match Prediction
Anthony Davis' involvement will have a huge bearing on the match but it could eventually turn out to be a simulation of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers struggled to score against the compact LA Lakers defense then and there's no evidence to suggest that the same won't be the case on Monday. Expect the Purple and Gold to win this one.
Where to watch Blazers vs Lakers?
National broadcast of this game will be available on NBA TV. You can also tune in to NBC Sports Northwest and Spectrum SportsNet for local coverage of the same. You can also live stream this matchup via the NBA League Pass.
Published 28 Dec 2020, 17:23 IST