Lakers Now

Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers preview

The Lakers look to snap a five-game losing streak Wednesday against a strong Portland Trail Blazers squad

The Lakers (13-39) limp toward the All-Star break with five consecutive losses, with one last game to play in Portland on Wednesday night against the Trail Blazers (35-17).

The Blazers, one of the top teams in the Western Conference, are 22-5 at home. The Lakers are in 14th place in the conference, just two games ahead of the 11-41 Minnesota Timberwolves.

Portland boasts two All-Stars in forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Damian Lillard.  The Lakers have one in Kobe Bryant, but he's out for the season (rotator cuff).

The Lakers will play without Jordan Hill (hip). Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are also out for the year.

Chris Kaman (ankle) and Joel Freeland (shoulder) won't play for the Trail Blazers.

Key matchup

The Lakers have competed well in their two previous games against the Blazers this season, until Damian Lillard asserted himself in a big way in both Portland victories.

Against the Lakers, Lillard is averaging 36.5 points with six assists while shooting 56.8% from the field and 5.0% from three-point range.

Lillard is scoring 21.6 points a night on the season -- but has tortured the Lakers like no other franchise.

The Lakers will counter with rookie Jordan Clarkson, along with Jeremy Lin and possibly Wesley Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price and the kitchen sink.

None may be enough against Lillard.

X-factor

As great as Lillard is, Aldridge is scoring at a higher clip, 23.7 points a night, and averaging 10.3 rebounds.

The Lakers won't have Hill, but can attack Aldridge defensively with Tarik Black, Robert Sacre, Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer and Ryan Kelly.

Thus far the Lakers have done a solid job against the Blazers' All-Star power forward, holding him to 18.0 points, on 39.5% shooting from the field.

The Lakers aren't bad inside defensively with their core of big men, but Aldridge is still a major concern -- so much that the Lakers can't simply throw everything they have at Lillard.

Outlook

The Lakers have lost 14 of 15 games. That's not going to improve on Wednesday night in Portland.

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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