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Lakers vs. Blazers Preview: Can the Lakers stop the surging Blazers once again?

The Lakers snapped a 0-16 skid against the Blazers the last time the two teams faced off, and this time they will look to once again halt Portland’s hot start to the season and win their fourth straight.

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Despite a bumpy start, the Los Angeles Lakers are playing their best basketball of the early season as of late.

Winners of three in a row, and five of their last six, the team has begun to work out a few of the kinks that hampered them out of the gates, mostly thanks in most part to an easier schedule.

But while fattening up with victories against the likes of the Hawks, Kings (granted Sacramento has been much better this season) and Mavericks is all right and all, the Lakers best win in this recent stretch — and last victory against a genuine playoff-caliber team — came against the club who had bested them 16 consecutive times, the Portland Trailblazers.

Although only 13 games into the regular season, Wednesday night’s contest will already be the rubber match between both teams, as the Lakers and Blazers are 1-1 against each other this season.

Portland won the opening night shoot-out behind the unlikely heroics of Nik Stauskas, who scored 24 points in only 27 minutes off the bench. The Lakers returned the favor in their last contest with the reincarnation of “playoff Rondo,” as Rajon Rondo came up big in the team’s road win.

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

Rondo dropped 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and shot 8-10 from the field in the game continuing an interesting trend.

Last season, Rondo played a huge part in helping his former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, upset the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, and seemingly sees blood whenever he faces off against Portland.

In the two matchups against Portland this season, Rondo is averaging 15 points, 8.5 assists, seven rebounds and two steals a game.

The Lakers are going to need Rondo and the rest of the team to come up big if they look to beat the Blazers again, as Portland has been one of the best teams in the league in the early stages of the season.

Currently 10-3, the Blazers have won four straight games and currently are on the heels of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the Western Conference.

Heading into the season the Blazers were many analysts’ pick for the team most likely to see a drop off because they lost key bench players but otherwise mostly returned the same roster returning that disappointed in the playoffs a season prior.

Yet, behind the consistently stellar play from their star backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — coupled with solid coaching and health — the Blazers have outperformed nearly every early preseason prediction for them.

A big reason of their early on-court success has been their impressive effectiveness on both ends of the floor thus far. On the season, only Portland and Milwaukee are top-five in both offensive and defensive rating (how many points they allow per 100 possessions).

The Lakers will likely appreciate hosting the contest slightly more than usual when the two teams tip it off, as after the game Los Angeles will head out on the road for three straight games.

Portland ultimately will represent a huge challenge for the Lakers, but will also serve as a good measuring stick to gauge how far they’ve come since opening night. Regardless of the outcome, it should be a fun one to watch.

The Lakers will take on the Blazers at 7 :30 p.m. PST on ESPN. All stats per Cleaning the Glass and NBA.com. You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.