Lakers’ keys to the potential match-up:
The Boards, the Killer B’s and the Rose Garden.
The Lakers must dominate the boards: use their length and size to gather offensive rebounds for easy put-backs and limit second-chance opportunities for the Blazers–a terrible rebounding team to begin with.
Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes, and Steve Blake must provide some spark off the bench. It doesn’t have to be a 25-point career night, but it must be solid defense or a few momentum changing dunks or threes. The Lakers bench play, specifically with the Killer B’s, will be a directly related to the amount of success the Lakers will have in the playoffs.
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The Rose Garden, a vaunted and historically detrimental venue to Lakers teams of the past, will be a talking point throughout this potential NBA Playoffs match-up. The Lakers, losing 12 of their 20 losses on the road this season, must find a way to eek and churn out a win on the road in Portland–a city that hasn’t been good to us in recent years.
Perhaps, with a few switching of players and jersey color changes, this could be a look at any first-round match-up the Lakers might face. However, avoiding the Blazers in the first-round would ease the minds of many.
No matter the team, if the Lakers can find a way to win the boards, have consistent bench play, and gruel out some playoff road wins, I’ll be seeing you all on Figueroa for the Championship parade.