A busy day in downtown Los Angeles; the city of angels, playing host to the L.A. Auto Show, American Music Awards, also the Clippers playing a home game versus the Toronto Raptors and culminating with the (2-10) Los Angeles Lakers facing the (5-9) Portland Trailblazers in the second NBA game of the day at the Staples Center. In American history, sadly, on today’s date, 52 years ago, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
On this date 13 years ago, in Lakers history the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 83-76, Kobe Bryant stuffed the stat sheet posting 21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steal night. Shaquille O’Neal came off the bench to score 17 points. Kobe has played three games on November 22nd; on average Bryant has played 34 minutes, scored 26 points on 55-percent shooting from the field, secured seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Tonight’s game a battle of two fifth-place teams, the Blazers two-and-a half games out of first place in the Northwest Division, the Lakers 11-games out of first place, although the purple and gold have the opportunity to stop the defending champion Golden State Warriors from making NBA history and winning their first 16 games to start a season. The Lakers lead the all-time series against the Blazers 118-95; furthermore Los Angeles dropped the last two season series to Portland (1-2 in three games 2013-14 & 0-4 in four games in 2014-15), before that, the purple and gold took three straight season series versus the Blazers, although the 2010-11 series marked the first for the Lakers since 2004-05.
At the Staples Center, the purple and gold are 21-9 all-time against the Blazers in the regular season and have won 10 of their last 15. The Portland Trailblazers ranked 14th in the NBA scoring on average 100.7 points per game. Defensively, the Blazers rank 18th allowing 102.4 points per game. In addition, the Blazers rank 15th in the NBA in rebounds on average securing 44.6 boards rebounds per game.
The Lakers need to slow Damian Lillard, Portland’s leading scorer (25.2 points per game) as well as the production of the Blazers backcourt. Portland’s backcourt is averaging 45 points, eight rebounds, ten assists a game with 44-percent shooting from the field and 37-percent shooting from behind the three-point arc. The Blazers snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 102-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Portland’s win over the Clippers fueled by Portland, scoring 48 points in the paint.
The Lakers are a work in progress, it will take time to yield the desired success, however showed glimpses of success against the Raptors, in the first half, then the bottom fell out in the second. For every positive step forward the purple and gold make, the Lakers, their coaching staff and the fans have witnessed, as well as consequently experienced frustration that the team takes two steps backwards. Los Angeles, looking to avoid a malodorous three-game losing skid, must continue to work hard to gain chemistry, cohesion and consistency.
Offensively, the Lakers need to play aggressive and attack the basket, start their offense below the free throw line, utilize good ball movement, coupled with solid player movement to make the defense work, limit their turnovers likewise provide Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle and Brandon Bass touches in the painted area. Defensively, the purple and gold must stop the ball, get back in transition, play sound against the pick-and-roll play and not lose their men, limit the Blazers to one shot per possession, quickly rotate out to open shooters, collectively box out their men, rebound.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Trailblazers: D. Lillard, C. J. McCollum, A. Aminu, N. Vonleh, M. Plumlee
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Portland: Comcast Sportsnet Northwest (Mike Barrett & Mike Rice)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Portland : KPOJ (Brian Wheeler & Antonio Harvey)
• Julius Randle (Sore Big Toe, Left Foot) Day-to-Day
• Myers Leonard (Shoulder) Out