Friday will be a battle between two teams looking to end their losing ways.
The Portland Trail Blazers (18-13) have lost three-consecutive games after winning six straight.
While, the Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 114-89 road drubbing to the Utah Jazz. Wednesday’s loss to Utah was the Lakers fourth-straight loss.
With both teams riding a losing skid, Friday will be an important game, which Carmelo Anthony noted following Thursday’s practice. Melo also mentioned that just because the Lakers aren’t playing well right now and are without Anthony Davis, doesn’t mean they can take them lightly.
Friday’s game in Los Angeles will be the second meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers this season.
The third and final game will be played during the Second Half of the season on May 7.
Portland leads the season series, 1-0, after a 115-107 victory on December 28. Damian Lillard led the charge with 31 points. In the loss, LeBron James notched 29 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block.
As Portland looks to end its losing skid, the Blazers will once again be without Harry Giles (left calf strain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
The Lakers have listed LeBron James (left ankle; sprain), Kyle Kuzma (back; strain), Markieff Morris (right ankle; sprain) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) as probable. Anthony Davis (right calf; strain) is out for Friday’s game.
Ahead of Friday’s game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes examined the challenges of a motivated Lakers team:
It’s never an easy chore to go into Los Angeles and play the Lakers.
But meeting them when they are on a four-game losing streak is certainly something extra to worry about.
Pretty sure LeBron James doesn’t take such things lightly, even though the team has the built-in excuse of Anthony Davis being injured.
The Lakers have also been without starting guard Dennis Schroder during those four games, but it is believed there is a possibility he will clear COVID-19 protocols in time for the game against Portland.
“It's going to be a challenge,” Coach Terry Stotts said. ”They've lost a few in a row. They want to get back on track, I imagine.
”They got beat last night pretty handily by Utah, so I think it's going to be a pretty motivated team, I think LeBron will be a very motivated player.
“I expect a very competitive team.”
But the Lakers are a different squad without Davis, their all-star forward-center.
“As far as without Anthony Davis, it certainly changes their team. Without a doubt, his versatility to be able to play both the four and the five, to space the court, to post up, to have another great player on the floor when LeBron is not on the floor -- not having Anthony Davis has had an impact on their team.”
Carmelo Anthony has been going head-to-head with James for his entire career and he knows the challenge ahead.
“Any team that has LeBron on it, you have to come ready to play,” Anthony said. “I mean, you know his level of focus that he's going to have, you know his attention to detail, you know his IQ for the game -- he makes everybody better around him.
“So we understand that it's not like ‘Oh, they don't have AD and we'll go in and get the game.' We still have to come down with a winning mentality and try to get this one.”
Read more here.
The Blazers are +5 point underdogs against the Lakers, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s matchup --
- Damian Lillard has scored at least 30 points in each of his last three games against the Lakers, and his career-scoring average of 27.9 points against Los Angeles is his second-highest against any team.
- Gary Trent Jr. scored a season-high 28 points (10-14 FG, 7-11 3-PT, 1-2 FT), to go with three rebounds and an assist on Dec. 28 against the Lakers, marking the second-highest scoring total of his career.
- LeBron James has recorded at least 20 points in each of his last four games against Portland, and his career-average of 9.0 rebounds against the Trail Blazers is his highest against any team.
- Dennis Schroder recorded 24 points (8-16 FG, 1-2 3-PT, 7-7 FT), four rebounds, four assists and one steal against the Trail Blazers on Dec. 28. Schroder has finished with at least 20 points in two of his last three games against the Trail Blazers.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +5 (-110) – Lakers: -5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Friday, February 26
Where: Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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