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Are the Lakers Still a True Marquee Matchup?

Are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and a shiny record enough to make the purple and gold hate-worthy again?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are preparing to face the Los Angeles Lakers tonight in front of their hometown Moda Center crowd. The Lakers sport LeBron James and Anthony Davis, a shiny 19-3 record, and their first claim to relevance since Kobe Bryant was in his prime. Once upon a time, Blazers-Lakers matchups were things of legends. This was the date Blazers fans would circle on the calendar; this was the game that made the month bright if the Blazers won it, no matter what else happened.

Intervening hard times for both teams have dimmed the matchup in recent years. Here’s a question for you today. Has the resurgence of the Lakers put the spice back in the building? When the inevitable, “Beat L.A.” chant arises, will it have the same passion behind it as it did in the days of Bryant and Brandon Roy, of Sheed and Pippen vs. Shaq, of Magic vs. Clyde? Is L.A. coming back to the spotlight enough to make you want to beat them just on principle, or in the modern NBA is this just another good team to try and take down?

For me, frankly, it’s mostly the latter. LeBron and AD don’t conjure the same kind of anger, frustration, or style that the old Lakers did. It’s hard to feel like they’re not a rent-a-title squad. That said, when the contest gets intense and that first chant does erupt, I’m leaving room for the feeling to revive.

What say you? Share your thoughts below.

Don’t forget to help us send a couple thousand kids to see the Blazers play the Minnesota Timberwolves in March (and maybe pick up a cool pair of socks besides)!

—Dave / @davedeckard / @blazersedge /