Coming off a big comeback win over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers look to build some momentum when they travel to take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
With the Western Conference standings being as crowded as it is, this could be a big game as the Lakers sit in 13th place at 21-25 while the Trail Blazers are right ahead of them in 12th at 21-24. Both teams are two games or less out of the sixth seed in the West though with a number of teams bunched together around .500.
As has been the case in recent weeks, the Lakers are once again without some key players in Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves. All three are making progress but are not quite yet ready to return.
Meanwhile, LeBron James was listed as questionable with ankle soreness although is able to play. Since turning 38 years old, James is averaging an insane 32 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists in seven games.
The Lakers may be catching the Trail Blazers at a good time as they have lost seven of their last nine games. Damian Lillard is still playing as strong as ever though, averaging 29.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists while shooting 36.1% from 3-point range on 10.9 attempts.
Containing Lillard will be up to the Lakers’ starting backcourt of Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley with the former likely drawing the assignment to start. Schroder has played really well for the Lakers in recent weeks and that was the case in the win over the Grizzlies when he came up with the game-winning steal and bucket.
Russell Westbrook was also huge off the bench against Memphis and has been playing the best basketball of his Lakers tenure in recent weeks. In his last nine games, Westbrook is averaging 23 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.9 assists while shooting 49% from the field and 38.1% from 3-point range.
That is the type of production the Lakers envisioned when they acquired Westbrook so hopefully he can continue playing at a high level moving forward, especially in a tough road matchup with Portland.
Los Angeles Lakers (21-25) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (21-24)
6 p.m. PT, January 22, 2023
Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: LeBron James
C: Thomas Bryant
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Max Christie, Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Anfernee Simons
SF: Josh Hart
PF: Jerami Grant
C: Jusuf Nurkic
Key Reserves: Gary Payton II, Drew Eubanks, Jabari Walker, Shaedon Sharpe, Nassir Little, Trenton Watford
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