The Los Angeles Lakers had to leave their nest after an impressive win against the Memphis Grizzlies, making a trip to Portland to face the Trail Blazers. This is their first game against Portland this season, and will feature the return of Damian Lillard. He missed the Blazers’ previous five games with an ankle sprain.
The Lakers are quietly inching toward the mid-way point of the season, adding No. 39 to their list Thursday night. For most teams it feels like the most reasonable time to start making definitive judgments, but these Lakers have made it hard to sea through the noise. At times they look spectacular; moving on offense, aware on defense and running the floor like a herd of bulls. At other times it’s jarring how similar it feels to the past few seasons. Even with injuries being accounted for, they’ve been wildly inconsistent.
Picking up a quality win over the Grizzlies felt like an extension of a spirited start of the year against the Toronto Raptors. They’re finding ways to get it done, the bench is picking up whatever it can without Larry Nance, Jr., and the duo of D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young are playing at what feels like season-peaks. Julius Randle is coming off a triple-double, by the way.
It’s a battle of the two worst defensive teams in the NBA, which means we should be enjoying an uptempo game of hoops featuring a great challenge to key in on in Lillard. Watch out for a sneaky-good game from a red-hot C.J. McCollum, averaging 23.2 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from three-point range. This is a big game for the Lakers, who will need to overtake Portland to poke their heads into the playoff hunt down the stretch.
Enjoy the game!
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, TNT