Lakers Vs. Trail Blazers Game Preview & TV Info: LeBron James Out, Anthony Davis Questionable
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off of their second comeback loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a week, and are facing injuries to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers and their 23rd ranked defense are below .500 with a struggling Damian Lillard.

As the two prepare to face off on Saturday night, each team desperately needs a win to find some early momentum as the season progresses. And with both teams looking lost defensively, it could lead to a very high-scoring affair.

The Lakers are without James, Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza, as they have been for much of the year. Meanwhile, Davis remains questionable and a game-time decision with a right thumb sprain he suffered in the loss to the Thunder. Dwight Howard is probable after missing some games with neck stiffness.

So as L.A. faces the Trail Blazers feeling as though they need a win, they are without several key pieces. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are fully healthy.

As previously stated, the Trail Blazers’ defense currently ranks 23rd in the NBA. After some low-scoring games against the Thunder and Houston Rockets, the Lakers have shot up to 16th, although the defensive issues are still very much present.

Those defensive issues could haunt them against the Trail Blazers, who on the flip side of things, rank seventh offensively. What’s even more impressive about this No. 7 ranking is that they’re doing it while Lillard averages just 17.8 points per game on abysmal shooting of 33.7% from the field and 21.7% from three.

The Lakers need to step up on the perimeter in order to avoid a nuclear Lillard return. Avery Bradley, Russell Westbrook and Kent Bazemore will all be key in stopping the Lillard and C.J. McCollum tandem.

And on the interior, the Lakers have to improve quickly. Despite having some of the greatest rebounders of all time on the roster, L.A. ranks just 23rd in rebounds while Portland ranks sixth. The Lakers cannot afford to continue losing the rebounding battle given where their defense is.

This early in the season, a game like this is a true toss-up. The Lakers could run the Trail Blazers off the floor with their transition game and rim-attacking offense. However, Portland could shoot the lights out and string together enough stops to bring both teams to .500.

Lakers (5-4) vs. Trail Blazers (4-5)

7:30 p.m. PT, Nov. 6, 2021
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV: NBA TV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Kent Bazemore
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan

Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Austin Reaves, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Wayne Ellington

Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: C.J. McCollum
SF: Norman Powell
PF: Robert Covington
C: Jusuf Nurkic

Key Reserves: Anfernee Simons, Larry Nance Jr., Nassir Little, Cody Zeller

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