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Lakers vs. Trail Blazers Preview: A big back-to-back

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This matchup against the Trail Blazers is about as close to must-win as a regular season game can be for the Lakers.

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Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t getting any rest after their loss against the LA Clippers on Thursday. This team is going to board a plane right away and head to Portland for what could be a pivotal game against the Trail Blazers that may determine whether or not the purple and gold can avoid a play-in game.

Sound like hyperbole? It’s not. With their loss to the Clippers, the Lakers fell to 37-29, and are now tied in record with the Blazers, who have won five of their last six games and had Thursday night off. If the Lakers lose this one, they’ll not only drop to seventh place in the Western Conference — and the ensuing play-in spot — but they will also be a full-game behind Portland in the standings with just six games left to play and Portland owning the tiebreaker.

In short, losing this game would not be an ideal outcome for the Lakers, especially with James’ return date still a question mark.

Will the Lakers be able to rise to the challenge and put themselves in the driver’s seat for at least the sixth seed in the West? Will Anthony Davis even be able to play — he says he’s going to try — after leaving Thursday’s game with back spasms?

We’ll find out the answers to all that and more on Friday when the Lakers and Blazers tip off in Portland at 7 p.m. PT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.

Notes and Updates

  • If the Blazers don’t win this game, it may be another sign that head coach Terry Stotts might be on the way out the door this summer. If Portland does fire him, Lakers assistant Jason Kidd is reportedly among the options they’ll consider as a replacement.
  • The Lakers injury report hasn’t been released yet as a result of them playing on Thursday, but we will update this story with it when it drops.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.