Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers preview

Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers preview
Lakers forward Jordan Hill looks to pass while being guarded by Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the Lakers' 98-94 loss on Jan. 5. (Don Ryan / Associated Press)

The Lakers (11-25) will try to win their second straight game, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers (29-8) on Sunday night at Staples Center.

The Blazers beat the Lakers in Portland on Monday, 98-94 -- a close game despite the Lakers playing without Kobe Bryant (rest) and Wesley Johnson (hip), on the second night of a back-to-back.


Wayne Ellington and Ryan Kelly started in Portland in place of Bryant and Johnson, who are both questionable Sunday.

This time the Blazers are playing on consecutive nights, after beating the Orlando Magic (13-27) in Portland on Saturday night, 103-92.  Robin Lopez (hand), Joel Freeland (shoulder) and Allen Crabbe (knee) are out for the Blazers.

The Lakers will also play without Steve Nash (back), and Julius Randle (leg).

Key matchup

The Lakers contained the Blazers for most of Monday's game, until Damian Lillard exploded late for 39 points.

The Portland guard shot 12 for 21 from the field while hitting 11 of 13 free throws and four of eight three-pointers.

Ronnie Price wasn't able to finish the game, after breaking his nose (via a Thomas Robinson elbow).  Having the veteran available, along with Jeremy Lin, would give the Lakers another defender if Lillard heats up again.

Lin is coming off one of his most well-rounded games, scoring 18 points with six assists, four steals and two blocks in the Lakers' win over the Magic on Friday, 101-84.


The Lakers did a solid job on the Blazers' starters outside of Lillard (Nicolas Batum, Chris Kaman and Wesley Matthews), while LaMarcus Aldridge needed 20 shots to score 21 points.

Meyers Leonard proved to be a problem off the bench, scoring 12 points on five shot attempts while pulling down 12 rebounds.

Through most of the game, the Lakers kept pace or out-played the Blazers, but Leonard helped keep his team close before Lillard stepped in to close it out.

Jordan Hill was a force in Portland, scoring 23 points on 10 of 15 shooting with 14 rebounds.



The Lakers have a real chance to beat the Blazers on Sunday, but there's a reason why Portland has the second-best record in the Western Conference.

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