The Los Angeles Lakers are back in action Sunday night as Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers pay a visit to Staples Center. The purple and gold had a big break before playing the Toronto Raptors on Friday, but it didn't amount to a win.
They'll look for a different result against the Trail Blazers, especially with their next opponent being the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The Lakers will take another extended break following that outing in the Bay Area, then travel up to Portland on Saturday for their next game. That's two three-day layoffs in two weeks, which bodes well for Kobe Bryant at the very least. Getting two shots so close together at the Trail Blazers should also be an interesting exercise in adjustments from the Lakers.
Lakers head coach Byron Scott has been willing to play Bryant extended minutes in individual games, looking more at his overall minutes per game as a way to gauge his playing time. Kobe's been candid about his aches and pains in his 20th season, though, so locking in back-to-back heavy-rest weeks should help the Lakers' cause early in the year. He is expected to play against the Trail Blazers.
Meyers Leonard is out for Portland with a dislocated left shoulder. Noah Vonleh has gotten the nod in the starting lineup in recent games, which could give the Lakers a long look at one of the frontcourt players they evaluated going into the 2014 NBA Draft. They'll also see Ed Davis, who left the Lakers in free agency after putting up career-high numbers. He's coming off a 17-point, 15-rebound performance against the Los Angeles Clippers.
All eyes will be drawn to the guards on the court, though, with Lillard and D'Angelo Russell matching up. Jordan Clarkson is "quietly" putting up 15.5 points per game and will likely also spend time checking Lillard. The Trail Blazers are 5-9 to start the season, tied up with the Houston Rockets for the 13th-worst record in the Western Conference. This should be a competitive outing from the Lakers.
Enjoy the game and the rest of your Sunday funday.
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT