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Game Preview: Lakers try to pioneer their way out of the woods in Portland

The Lakers had to pack up for a trip to Portland after taking a drubbing from San Antonio.

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers took a licking from one of the NBA's best teams and have little time to recuperate from being a punching bag for the San Antonio Spurs. Kobe Bryant's final game at the Rose Garden is another Western Conference ghost to visit, with their battles against the Portland Trail Blazers during the three-peat standing as a memorable rivalry.

The Trail Blazers have had the kind of year most expected, watching their record drop below .500 as they try to rebuild in the wake of LaMarcus Aldridge leaving. Damian Lillard is the meat, potatoes and silverware of this team. He's averaging a career-high 24.3 points per game while shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc, making up for a huge chunk of Portland's offense.

The Lakers are now getting beat by the most points per 100 possessions in the league (-11.2 net rating), and the eye test confirms that kind of grim statistical identifier. Very little is going right while the team desperately tries to find some sort of life as they struggle through their second-longest losing streak of the season. It's hard to imagine the Lakers suddenly looking like a team prepared to compete after the smackdown they took from San Antonio.

But who knows. Maybe Julius Randle will put it together for four quarters instead of four minute stretches. Perhaps some of the great passes D'Angelo Russell makes will turn into assists instead of turnover fodder, or he won't wait until the game's out of hand to heat up. Kobe Bryant could have one in the chamber left for Portland before closing another chapter on his career. Enjoy the game, however it is you hope to do so.

Time: 7:30 P.T.


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