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Lakers vs. Trail Blazers Game Preview: The tank blazes into the home stretch

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Los Angeles hosts a desperate Portland team looking for a playoff berth.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped their first three games of the season against the Portland Trail Blazers, and the players and coaching staff will look to avoid the season sweep when the they host them again Sunday.

The front office, however, probably wouldn’t mind if the Lakers dropped this one. The team is currently neck-and-neck with the Phoenix Suns in the race for the second-worst record in the NBA (and thus the second-best chance for the Lakers to keep their top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft).

Portland would be happy to oblige them, as they’re locked in a race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, sitting just one game back of the Denver Nuggets after winning seven of their last ten games.

This should at the very least be an entertaining game to watch for anyone willing to ignore defensive errors. The Lakers own the league’s worst defense, giving up 111.2 points per 100 possessions, but the 24th ranked Blazers (108.4) aren’t much better.

Fans should also keep an eye on D’Angelo Russell, whose "slick little elbows” pissed off Damian Lillard in the two team’s second match-up of the year and led to a confrontation between the two guards:

The tiff invigorated the Blazers, who went on a 14-6 run to run away with that game and inspire one of the weirder basketball-related memes on the internet:

Tune in Sunday night to see if Russell pokes the bear again, and enjoy the game everyone.

Time: 6:30 p.m. PT

TV: Spectrum SportsNet

All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.