Lakers Vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Looking To Stay Undefeated During In-Season Tournament Group Play
Anthony Davis, Lakers, Blazers
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a week ago, Anthony Davis led the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers with LeBron James out due to injury. Now they’ll look to do it again, but with LeBron back in uniform and the stakes a little higher due to the NBA In-Season Tournament.

The Lakers currently sit atop West Group A at 2-0 and have the chance to make it three straight with a road victory over Portland on Friday night. The Lakers are looking to bounce back after a loss on Wednesday while the Trail Blazers have lost five straight and are missing numerous key pieces including rookie Scoot Henderson, guards Malcolm Brogdon and Anfernee Simons, and big man Robert Williams.

While it was Davis who led the way in the Lakers’ prior win over Portland with 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, it was truly a team effort that drove them to victory. Rui Hachimura, Cam Reddish and Austin Reaves all came through and even though LeBron is back in the lineup now, that balance is key.

The Lakers were also able to turn around their biggest issues of the season and that will need to happen again. They allowed only five offensive rebounds, turned the ball over just nine times, and actually led after the first quarter for the first time this year.

Something else that would help the Lakers get back in the win column is their recent improved shooting from 3-point range. The scorching performance against the Memphis Grizzlies rightfully got a ton of attention, but they also shot just under 38% from deep in the game against the Sacramento Kings. Portland is the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA so if the Lakers can get hot from deep, the Trail Blazers will struggle to keep up.

Because of all their injuries, the Trail Blazers are missing some major firepower, but second-year guard Shaedon Sharpe is extremely explosive and capable of going off if the Lakers aren’t focused. Additionally, Jerami Grant had a solid outing against the Lakers so keeping them in check will be the top priority.

Poerland is one of the worst teams in the league and this should be a case of the Lakers being able to take care of business and keep up their standing in the In-Season Tournament. But if they allow those same issues of rebounding, turnovers and slow starts creep back up, the Lakers could be in for a rude awakening and a loss they can’t afford.

Los Angeles Lakers (6-6) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (3-8)

7:00 p.m. PT, November 17, 2023
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Cam Reddish
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood, Max Christie

Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:

PG: Skylar Mays
SG: Shaedon Sharpe
SF: Toumani Camara
PF: Jerami Grant
C: Deandre Ayton

Key Reserves: Matisse Thybulle, Jabari Walker, Duop Reath, Kris Murray

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