Game Preview: Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Lakers

Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers look to bounce back after having their 5 game winning streak snapped in Denver. At bat will be the Blazers; the team where the downward spiral began.

Casting Call

Los Angeles Lakers (14-15, 102.9 ppg, 100.6 ppg allowed)

  • Dwight Howard (17.5 ppg, 57.4% fg, 2 apg, 11.8 rpg)
  • Pau Gasol (12.6 ppg, 42% fg, 3.9 apg, 8.7 rpg)
  • Kobe Bryant (30.2 ppg, 47.8% fg, 4.9 apg, 5.3 rpg)
  • Darius Morris (4.9 ppg, 37.3% fg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 rpg)
  • Steve Nash (10.4 ppg, 55% fg, 7.2 apg, 3.4 rpg)

Portland Trailblazers (14-13, 97,6 ppg, 99.4 ppg allowed)

Showtime

7:30 pm PST

Plot

The end of the year is here for the Los Angeles Lakers as they close out 2012 at home against the Portland Trailblazers. After a lifeless game against the Denver Nuggets they will look to bounce back against the team where the downward spiral all began. Steve Nash fractured his fibula, which eventually caused him nerve damage, leaving him sidelined for almost two months since then when they first met.

It's been a free fall since that night and only the recent five game winning streak has stopped the fallout.

Portland has had a strong season for a team with low expectations. Rookie Damian Lillard is having a stand-out campaign, averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game. LaMarcus Aldridge remains an elite power forward tucked away in the great northwest. Averaging 21.1 points (46.4% field goal percentage from the field) and 8.3 rebounds per game, Aldridge is top 10 in scoring and has led his team to a 14-13 record. Yes, the Blazers are over .500, something the Lakers have chased all season.

Portland has what the Lakers lack in their wings and back court. Youthful, athletic, swing-men fly up and down the hardwood while Damian Lillard pushes the ball up-court. Their rookie point guard has started 27 games in the NBA regular season while Steve Nash is playing in his 17th season. LaMarcus Aldridge is smack dab in the center of his prime while Pau Gasol's legs are being held together with Elmer's Glue, sticky notes, and leftover tape from unwrapped Christmas gifts. Gasol, just putting a case of tendinitis in BOTH of his knees behind him, is now dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot (and will be playing through it).

The last time these two teams met the Blazers won with a final score of 116-106. Damian Lillard had a double-double, dropping 23 points and 11 boards. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum also had over 20 points. Dwight Howard had a season high in points with 33 (and went 15-19 from the line) and also had 11 rebounds. Kobe Bryant scored 30 as well, making it the only game of the season that both Howard and Bryant scored 30+ points.

Over the last 7 games the Trailblazers have gone 6-1 (their one loss belonging to the Sacramento Kings). They are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, currently ranked 27th, Against the Nuggets the Lakers needed to be active on the boards to win the game. Against the Blazers? They better out rebound their opponent. Portland is slightly above average in points per game, and slightly below average in points against per game, and are middle of the pack across the board. With a 4-9 record on the road, the Lakers home court advantage should be very real in this match-up.

October 31st was a night that can serve as the Lakers season in a game. Under-performing, filled with injuries, and eventual losses despite great individual performances. With the full roster together and will play their fourth game under Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers stopped the bleeding with their five game winning streak and must now prove that they can regroup quickly, pick up a win, and bring their record back to .500.

On This Soundtrack

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @BallReasons

- Check out Blazer's Edge

- Buy Los Angeles Lakers Tickets click here

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