The Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant by donning the Black Mamba City Edition uniforms when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in an important Game 4.
L.A. has made their mark against the Trail Blazers after a disappointing Game 1 loss. Since then, the Lakers have dominated games defensively while finally making jump shots to go along with that.
A 23-point blowout followed by a solid 116-108 victory have allowed them to take a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 will be a huge momentum shift in either direction.
A Lakers win would put them up 3-1 and would essentially put the series away. Meanwhile, a Trail Blazers win would tie things back up and ensure at least a sixth game.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel stressed that continued intensity and focus on the defensive end will be how the team gets a third consecutive win. “We’re competing at a high level on that end of the floor, but these two guards and the whole team is dynamic and electric offensively,” he said.
“We are pleased with how we’ve performed on that end of the floor but not in any way comfortable. We’ve just got to compete and ask our guys to do the best they can. So far it’s been enough, but we’ve got to continue to bring that type of intensity and focus.”
Some good news for the Lakers is that — in Game 3 — Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony combined for 82 points and it still was not enough. This means that completely shutting out those three is not necessary to get a win.
Although it didn’t appear to affect Lillard much in Game 3, he now is two days further removed from the dislocation of a finger that knocked him out of Game 2. This means he’ll be even more comfortable and healthy and L.A. will need to prepare for that.
On the injury front, Rajon Rondo is considered doubtful. He was active for Game 3, but game-time back spasms forced him to sit out. It remains unlikely that his debut will come Monday night, but he has not yet been ruled out.
The Trail Blazers will likely continue their two-big starting lineup with Zach Collins ruled out for the season.
Lakers (2-1) vs. Trail Blazers (1-2)
6:00 p.m. PT, Aug. 24, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: ESPN 710
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris
Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Hassan Whiteside
C: Jusuf Nurkic
Key Reserves: Gary Trent Jr., Wenyen Gabriel, Mario Hezonja, Anfernee Simons
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!