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Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers Preview

The Blazers meet up with the Lakers, owners of the worst defensive rating in the NBA.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers (16-32) at Portland Trail Blazers (19-27)

Jan. 25, 2017, 7:30 PST
Watch: ESPN; Listen: Rip City Radio 620 AM
Blazers injuries: Festus Ezeli (out), Ed Davis (out)
Lakers injuries: D’Angelo Russell (out)
SBN Affiliate: Silver Screen and Roll

On the night that the team will be celebrating its 1977 championship, the Portland Trail Blazers will be looking to capitalize on the momentum an exciting overtime victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday while the Los Angeles Lakers will be hoping to forget their last game altogether.

While Portland played Boston as tightly as possible in a game with more than 40 combined ties and lead changes, the Lakers were absolutely crushed by the Dallas Mavericks 122-73.

As this will be the third time these teams have faced off against each other in the last 15 days, there is little new to report in terms of matchups. D’Angelo Russell will miss the game with a knee injury sustained against the Indiana Pacers, so fans won’t be treated to a repeat of what happens when Russell “pokes the bear”

Should Stotts continue to start Noah Vonleh and Evan Turner in place of Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless, the Vonleh/Julius Randle matchup is intriguing. Both players are built like traditional power forwards, a rarity these days and, though Randle is more ground-bound than Vonleh, he has an excellent nose for the ball, averaging 9.5 rebounds per game over his young career.

Portland will be looking to finally get some semblance of momentum going after Saturday’s gutty win. While the Blazers have beaten some talented teams this season, they have struggle to parlay that success into any kind of significant run, twice putting up three-game winning streaks. While Portland has won 10 straight games over the Lakers, dating back to 2014, Los Angeles is capable of taking anyone out. They feature several streaky players in Nick Young and Lou Williams and, if they get on a roll, can put up points in a hurry.

The defense is another story. While Portland has seen enough improvement to move into 27th in the league in DRtg, the Lakers have settled into last place, allowing nearly 113 points per 100 possessions. When playing the Lakers, the key is to never let up on offense, because they will let you back in the game.

Tonight’s game is most notable for the extensive celebration that the Blazers are having in honor of the 40th anniversary of the franchise’s sole NBA Championship. Notable figures such as Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins, Johnny Davis, Bobby Gross, and Harry Glickman will be on hand, with some players being available to visit with fans while they have their photo taken with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

At halftime, a tribute video will be shown on the jumbotron prior to a player addressing the crowd. After the game, Bill Schonely will conduct an interview with Bill Walton. Joe Freeman of OregonLive/The Oregonian wrote a complete roundup, including details on the special events planned for the evening here.

Blazer’s Edge Night 2017

Want to assist us in sending 2,000+ underprivileged Portland-area kids to a Trail Blazersgame this spring? Check out Blazer’s Edge Night 2017 for information on how to get involved, and help spread the word!