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Lakers vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Talking about playoffs

There’s a big game in STAPLES Center tonight!

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers get their second crack at the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017, this time on their own turf in Southern California. C.J. McCollum put in some serious work on the Lakers in the previous loss, dropping 27 points. Evan Turner was the one putting the finishing touches on the LakeShow, though.

The Lakers have won back-to-back games since then, running the table of the visiting teams from Florida while looking focused on making the second half of the season mean something. That being said, few matchups mean more to the Lakers more than the remaining three contests against Portland. The playoff implications are real, and the Lakers need to prove they’re better than the Trail Blazers not only in the win-loss column, but on the court.

Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell have picked up the pace while Julius Randle continues stuffing the stat sheet, and suddenly the Lakers aren’t living and dying by the hands of Lou Williams and Nick Young. The other pieces are starting to round out into shape, and that bodes well while they’re only two games back from the No. 8 seed Blazers.

If the Lakers want to talk about playoffs, this is the game where they put their money where their mouths are. They can certainly survive going down 0-2 to Portland — there will still be another 40 games to sort through the bottom of the Western Conference bracket — but if they want to be taken serious they have to take these opportunities to prove themselves. This is a perfect chance to do just that.

Enjoy the game, which should feature a roaring STAPLES Center crowd.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet

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