The Lakers get little time to lick their wounds after an opening-night defeat to the Dallas Mavericks. On Wednesday they visit the Portland Trail Blazers, a young team with potential.
The Blazers may not be a Western Conference powerhouse but they’re a dangerous group. The Lakers always seem to have trouble winning in Portland.
Can the Lakers break their losing streak of 11 (including preseason and two straight postseason losses in May)?
The Blazers go to All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge for offense.
Aldridge can score facing the basket or post up, and while he’s not necessarily an overpowering force, he’s a load to handle.
The Lakers will need a strong game from Pau Gasol both defensively and offensively against Aldridge.
Additionally, keep an eye on Damian Lillard going up against Steve Nash. Lillard has a real shot to be Rookie of the Year this season.
The Blazers brought in J.J. Hickson last year and retained him over the summer on a one-year deal. Hickson will start at center against Dwight Howard, and while Howard is the better player overall, Hickson isn’t nearly as rusty.
The Lakers need a strong game out of Howard, especially defensively. After six months off to recover from back surgery, Howard has struggled with foul trouble through three games (two preseason).
Can Howard manage the back-to-back? That’s not a given.
The Blazers always seem to beat the Lakers in Portland.
Pencil this one in for the Blazers.