The NBA picks up on Wednesday night with a total of 11 games on tap. One of those games will be between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams have started to pick things up as of recently, which could lead to a real exciting game.
The Trail Blazers have started the new season with a record of 10-3. Portland is currently sitting in second place of the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games. Portland will look to continue their success this season with a win against the Lakers on the road on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles has posted a record of 7-6 to begin this season. The Lakers are sitting right outside the playoff picture in ninth place of the Western Conference. It took a little while for the Lakers to get things going, but Los Angeles has won three in a row and five of their last six. The Lakers are going to try and keep it going at home against the Trail Blazers.
The Lakers and Trail Blazers have met twice already this season. Los Angeles and Portland will meet once more for the last game of the season on April 9. Both teams are riding winning streaks into Wednesday nights matchup. I believe this could be one of the best games of the night on November 14.
The first game of this season was hosted by Portland on October 18. This game opened up the new season for both of these teams. LeBron James scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in his Lakers debut. Josh Hart added another 20 points off the bench, but it was not enough. Damian Lillard put up 28 points, while Nik Stauskas scored another 24. The Trail Blazers were able to pull off a 128-119 win.
The second matchup between these two teams stayed in Portland on November 3. The Trail Blazers were led by Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Both players had 30 points each. LeBron James had 28 points for the Lakers. Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The Lakers were able to pull off a 114-110 win on the road.
Each team has won one game in the season series. Both games were within a close range in Portland and I would not be surprised if the third game of the season series is close as well. Damian Lillard has been able to put up big numbers in both games, so I would not be surprised if he sees tighter defense from the Lakers on Wednesday night.
The Trail Blazers have been able to avoid any injury problems early this season. The only player likely to be out on Wednesday night is Maurice Harkless. Harkless plays a depth role, which allows for Portland to fill in other players at his spot easier.
The Lakers lineup is currently healthy. Los Angeles had a couple players injured earlier in the season, but their biggest issue was suspensions. Early in the season, the Lakers were without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram for multiple games due to suspension.
Portland’s lineup has been led by their pair of Guards. Damian Lillard has averaged 26 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds per game this season. C.J. McCollum has averaged 20.5 points per game. Both of these players have the potential to go off on any given night. The Trail Blazers have also gotten solid production from Jusuf Nurkic at the Center spot. Nurkic has averaged 15.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Of those 10.5 rebounds per game, Nurkic is averaging almost 4 offensive rebounds per game.
LeBron James has been the top player for the Lakers to nobody’s surprise. James is averaging 26.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. Kyle Kuzma has had a really nice start to the season as well. Kuzma is averaging 18.5 points per game. Brandon Ingram has averaged 15 points per game.
The Lakers use size to help them beat teams in the field and around the outside. The Trail Blazers have quite a bit of speed between Lillard and McCollum, which allows for plenty of open looks. I expect a solid matchup between Rajon Rondo playing defense on either Guard. Portland will need a good offensive performance if they are going to get the road win in my opinion.
These two teams are shifting back to Los Angeles for the first time in this season’s series. I believe that the Lakers will be feeding off of their home crowd’s energy to continue the winning streak. The Trail Blazers are also on a hot streak, which I believe is close to ending. Los Angeles was able to beat Portland the second time around as the Lakers lineup started playing better together. I believe Los Angeles could continue this trend with their second straight win against the Trail Blazers.
BetOnline has Los Angeles listed as -2 ½ against the spread. This implies that the odds makers are expecting a close game. I believe that this game could be close, but -2 ½ is a small spread. If the Lakers are winning towards the end, free throws could push this game over the spread. I believe Los Angeles takes the win at home, so I am taking them against the points.