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Lakers vs. Trailblazers preview: Why did the playoff team cross the tank?

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Tonight the Lakers take on the Portland Trailblazers in a game that most fans are hoping ends in a loss for the purple and gold. Will Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge be able to slow down surging Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson?

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers season mercifully limps one step closer to its conclusion when they take on the Portland Trailblazers Friday night.  Coming off a much-needed drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers are looking to lose two games in a row as they attempt to retain their 2015 draft pick.

The Blazers, meanwhile, find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum.  With the playoffs looming Portland finds itself in a tight race with the Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Rockets. They do have the benefit of sitting on top of the Northwest division, which guarantees them at least a top-4 seed.

The Blazers will be without Wesley Matthews (Achilles) and Dorrell Wright, who broke his hand in their previous game against the Clippers. The Lakers aren't without their share of injuries, as Nick Young will continue to sit with a fractured knee cap and Ronnie Price is still attempting to recover from elbow surgery. Kobe Bryant, Wayne Ellington, and Julius Randle have all been declared out for the season as well. Lets not forget Xavier Henry also had his season pulled from under him what feels like ages ago.

Ideally, the Lakers would like to see young players like Jordan Clarkson, Ryan Kelly, Tarik Black, Jabari Brown, and newly signed Dwight Buycks get valuable experience but ultimately lose the game.  They executed this plan to perfection against the Pelicans, let's see if they can do it again.

Hang in there Lakers fans, it's almost over.

Time: 7:30 PT

Station: ESPN