The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to get out of their current funk as they head to the Moda Center to take on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers are looking to put an end to their five-game losing streak as they hit the road for a short trip before heading back home.
Despite the losing streak, the young core for the Lakers has continued to show the increased improvement that fans have been craving. In his last outing versus the San Antonio Spurs, D’Angelo Russell led the team with 18 point and three assists. Meanwhile, Julius Randle posted yet another double-double and led all teams with 14 rebounds.
After the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez, Portland’s rebuilding process has begun with the frontcourt. One of them is the third-year big man out of Duke, Mason Plumlee. Plumlee has seen a steady increase in production and is putting up career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists since being traded from the Brooklyn Nets.
The other is Al-Farouq Aminu out of Wake Forest. Aminu is also putting up a career-high 10.0 points per game along with shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc since joining the Trail Blazers.
Leading the way for the Blazers is the two-time All-star in Damian Lillard. Lillard has continued to improve in each season of his young career, and this year is no different. He is averaging 24 points and seven assists per game to go along with four rebounds. In just his fourth year in the league, he has already established himself as one of the elite point guards of the NBA.
Alongside Lillard is the versatile guard in CJ McCollum. McCollum is in his third year in the league, averaging 20 points per game to go with four assists. McCollum has proved to be viable one-two punch while playing alongside Lillard, and this young guard combo has taken the league by storm as one of the most versatile back-courts in the league.
Keys To The Game:
Slowing Down the Backcourt: The Blazers pack a huge one-two punch with their combo guards in Lillard an McCollum. Last time these two teams faced off, the two combined for 57 points and shot over 50 percent on their way to a 108-96 victory over the Lakers. If L.A. can manage to at least slow done either of the two, then they greatly increase their chances of taking this one.
Defend the Three: On top of the sharpshooting guards, the Blazers have no shortage of guys willing to take the three. In their last game versus the Atlanta Hawks, they chucked up 31 shots from beyond the arc. However, they only made nine of them which ultimately led to their downfall. They have certainly proved themselves as a team willing to live and die by the three.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-36) vs. Portland Trailblazers (19-26)
7:30 PM PST, January 22, 2016
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN / 1330(Spanish)
Blazers Starting Lineup:
PG: Damien Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Al-Forouq Aminu
PF: Noah Vonleh
C: Mason Plumlee
Key Reserves: SF Allen Crabbe, PF Ed Davis, C Meyers Leonard
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: Lou Williams
SF: Kobe Bryant
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: PG D’Angelo Russell, C Brandon Bass, SF Anthony Brown