Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Series Preview
The Western Conference’s first-round of postseason play will feature one of the most talked-about series, the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers enter the playoffs as the first seed out West. They are making their first playoff appearance since 2013. As for the Blazers, who made it to the playoffs despite a tougher road than most, they’ll look to pull off a monumental upset. Who will survive in this highly-anticipated one versus eight match-up?
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers Preview
Players to Watch
For the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma will be key. He has to emerge as the third scorer for the Lakers. Kuzma has been inconsistent all year. The Lakers are near unstoppable when Kuzma can match the energy of LeBron and Anthony Davis. More good news for the Lakers came when it was announced that Rajon Rondo will make his bubble debut. Rondo is the floor general the Lakers need in the second unit, which has struggled offensively.
For the Blazers, the big men, Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside must continue their productivity. Nurkic finished with 21 points and 21 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in game. Whiteside has given the Blazers good production off the bench. They must put pressure on the Lakers’ frontcourt and stay on the floor. Both men have had foul trouble recently.
Keys for Both Teams
Lakers: Rekindle the Old Flame
Before the league shut down, the Lakers were running away with the West. They were in sync on both sides of the ball. Many believed they were in the driver seat of capturing the title. However, during the bubble, the Lakers have been inconsistent. The offense took a huge tumble and struggled to hit threes. The defense, at times, struggled with rotating towards the ball. They must return to form
The Portland Trail Blazers have captured the hearts of NBA fans across the league. Dame’s historic run has been a joy to watch. Nurkic and C.J. McCollum stepped up in key moments as well. However, the Blazers’ defense has been horrid. They surrendered around 120 points per game during the bubble. Although they have been victorious, all of their victories have come down to the wire. The Blazers are going up against the Lakers, who boast the league’s best offense when in sync. LeBron and Davis will be a difficult cover for them.
This series will be exciting. Despite being the eight-seed, the Blazers, who reached the Conference Finals just a season ago, have extensive playoff experience. They are hungry and are at full strength. The Lakers have been inconsistent to this point in Orlando. However, the Blazers’ lack of defense will be their downfall. Davis is far better than Nurkic and Whiteside. No one on the Blazers can guard LeBron. The Lakers beat them twice in three games during the regular season. In those two victories, the Lakers scored 136 and 128 points. The Blazers’ magical run will come to a competitive end.
Lakers def. Blazers in Game 6