The Los Angeles Lakers — despite unique circumstances — have officially broken their franchise-long playoff drought. Starting on Tuesday, they’ll begin a quest for L.A.’s first championship since 2010 when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers.
While the seeding games began with little to no doubt that the Lakers would secure the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, it was almost impossible to accurately predict who would face them in the first round of the playoffs.
The Trail Blazers began the bubble experience as the ninth seed in the West. However, stellar play from Seeding Games MVP Damian Lillard brought them to No. 8, where they were able to take care of the Grizzlies in the play-in, and now look the part of one of the greatest eight seeds in NBA history.
The Lakers will need to use this first round series to get themselves back on track on both ends of the floor. L.A.’s eight seeding games were far from ideal, as they went just 3-5. While the final game was meaningless due to the amount of players who rested, the first seven offered little in terms of consistency.
For the first five games, the Lakers offense was abysmal, ranking dead last among all 22 teams in Orlando. However, in the sixth and seventh games, they turned the offense around, only to have their defense suffer.
L.A. won’t have much time to figure things out, as the Trail Blazers were the last team they wanted to see this early on. While Portland has the record of a No. 8 seed, they certainly don’t have the roster makeup of one. Lillard is playing otherworldly basketball, and the return of Jusuf Nurkic provides a big man rotation that perhaps only the Lakers could combat.
The Lakers — much like at the beginning of the season — are not being taken seriously as contenders due to their low quality of play during the NBA restart. However, a dominant first round performance would allow them to get back to how they looked before the hiatus began in March.
Lakers vs. Trail Blazers schedule and TV Info for first round
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Game 1, Lakers vs. Trail Blazers, 6 p.m. PT, Spectrum SportsNet and TNT
Thursday, Aug. 20: Game 2, Lakers vs. Trail Blazers, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet and ESPN
Saturday, Aug. 22: Game 3, Lakers @ Trail Blazers, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday, Aug. 24: Game 4, Lakers @ Trail Blazers, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet and TNT
Wednesday, Aug. 26*: Game 5, Lakers vs. Trail Blazers, TBD, Spectrum SportsNet
Friday, Aug. 28*: Game 6, Lakers @ Trail Blazers, TBD, Spectrum SportsNet
Sunday, Aug. 30*: Game 7, Lakers vs. Trail Blazers, TBD, Spectrum SportsNet
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!