One team’s embarrassing run of losses is about to end this Saturday, as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Portland Trail Blazers. Which side are you betting on?
Catch this game live on Saturday, February 27, at 11 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (22-11, 9-7 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Talen Horton-Tucker
- SG: Kentaviuous Caldwell-Pope
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Markieff Morris
- C: Marc Gasol
The absence of Anthony Davis is putting the Lakers to a tough test, and so far, LeBron James and company are failing it. The Lakers are still in a dark tunnel after getting thrashed by the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City last Thursday for the Purple & Gold’s fourth loss in a row.
The absence of Anthony Davis is the most convenient reason for the Lakers’ current skid, but no one outside of LeBron James has been consistently putting up solid numbers to help the team mitigate the impact of the star big man’s temporary loss. Against Utah, Marc Gasol, Kentavoius-Caldwell Pope, and Talen Horton-Tucker all started and combined for just 21 points on a horrible 7-of-24 shooting from the field.
However, the Lakers could be due for a win, and that could come against the also-struggling Blazers, who won’t have two key pieces that led Portland to a 115-107 road win over Los Angeles back in December. The Blazers will travel to Tinseltown this weekend without CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, who are currently dealing with injuries.
Meanwhile, the Lakers could be getting back Dennis Schroder, who hasn’t played since Feb. 17’s win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Schroder is probable for Saturday’s game vs. Portland.
The total has hit the under in four of the last five games overall.
ROAD TEAM: Portland Trail Blazers (18-13, 10-7 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: Gary Trent Jr.
- SF: Derrick Jones Jr.
- PF: Robert Covington
- C: Enes Kanter
The Blazers suffered their third loss in a row last Wednesday, as they fell victims to the Denver Nuggets on the road, 111-106 Portland’s current slump comes on the heels of a six-game winning streak, and it’s definitely frustrating the Blazers, who still managed to cover the spread as 6-point road underdogs in the Nuggets game.
Portland simply didn’t have an answer to Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who had 41 points on 17-of-32 shooting from the field. Enes Kanter was no match to the Serbian biggie, though that’s hardly a surprise as the Blazers’ center is not known for his defense.
On that note, the Blazers are getting a plus in the rematch against the Lakers, with LA missing the services of Anthony Davis. Without Davis, Kanter and Portland’s frontcourt will just have to account for a washed Marc Gasol and a limited Montrezl Harrell down low on defense.
Portland’s not the best defensive team out there, but they are facing the Lakers at just the right time, as Los Angeles is clearly having trouble scoring of late, with Davis sidelined. The Lakers averaged just 101.3 points over the last four games — the second-fewest in the NBA in that span. Damian Lillard, who had 25 points against Denver, scored 31 on 10-of-16 shooting in the December loss to the Lakers.
The Blazers are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games against a team that allowed more than 100 points in its previous contest.
The Lakers are playing like headless chickens without Anthony Davis, but you can also say the same about the Blazers. In this battle of slumping teams, we’re going to stick with the home team. The Lakers beat Portland in this game, 114-111.