Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers 8/20/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers Matchup Preview
If there was such a thing as stealing home-court advantage in the bubble, the Portland Trail Blazers did so in Game 1 as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Damian Lillard proved Dame Time is hardly over and the Lakers, who looked a little shaky in seeding games, had their vulnerabilities show up beyond foundation level.
This has the potential of being one of the best first seed versus eighth seed pairings in recent memory, but the Lakers will be looking to even up the series tonight. The Lakers are on a two-game skid, while the Blazers have now won five straight.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
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Lakers: Rajon Rondo (Q)
Blazers: Zach Collins (DTD), Nasir Little (DTD)
Lakers Starting 5
Most everyone who predicted Game 1 of this series expected the Lakers would take the win. The Blazers had had a marvelous run in seeding games in order to get themselves in a play-in game, but the Lakers were a different beast than the Memphis Grizzlies.
That proved to not come to fruition as the Lakers struggled in Game 1 and they had some defensive miscues as the offense also struggled to score in the second half.
“We had a couple breakdowns,” James said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Can’t make mistakes in the postseason. I believe we made some mistakes defensively. We played hard. There were some mistakes that we made especially going down the stretch.”
The best thing for the Lakers in this case is having a short memory and getting focused for Game 2 tonight.
“It’s one game,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re very confident in our group still. The time was used the right way but there’s no simulation like what they’ve been in and now we’re in the playoff environment.”
As has been a glaring issue through all of the NBA restart, the Lakers have had trouble getting anyone outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to contribute consistently. Before the shutdown, they had several key contributors and were on quite a roll. In Game 1, LeBron James tried to will the Lakers to a win with an outstanding line of 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 16 assists. James would likely have had assists in the 20s if teammates were able to knock down shots. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed all 14 of his attempts, Danny Green continues to struggle mightily and Kyle Kuzma contributed 14 points on 5-of-14 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arch.
On paper, the Lakers have far more talent heading into tonight’s game, but it’ll have to be more than LeBron and Anthony Davis to get it done this round or any other round.
Trail Blazers Starting 5
Trail Blazers Analysis
As stated above, the Blazers look like every bit of the 8th seed they are. They are running eight deep and starting Wenyen Gabriel. Most would think this would be a sweep for the Lakers, but the Blazers have other plans.
Portland has been on an absolute tear lately, and you can probably thank Pat Beverley and Paul George for that since Damian Lillard has been the catalyst behind those wins.
“We’re not just overly trying to act like we’re not proud of what we did, because we are, but we’re also not gonna rest in it and pat ourselves on the back,” Lillard said after the victory. “We’re gonna try to figure out the things we didn’t do well that we could do better next game and try to give ourselves a chance to win the next game.”
It certainly was Dame Time as Lillard put up 34 points from all over the floor, but he hardly was alone out there. Jusuf Nurkic has played great with a clean bill of health in the NBA restart. He had 16 points and 15 rebounds, but his hustle and work ethic was on another level. CJ McCollum also contributed 21 points and Carmelo Anthony added 11 and 10. If Gary Trent Jr. catches fire and Hassan Whiteside continues being a force on defense, the Lakers could have a series on their hands with these Blazers.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers Fantasy Basketball Angle
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are fantasy beasts, and James made his fantasy owners very happy albeit in a loss in Game 1. While it may be a risk picking Damian Lillard here considering the Lakers will be laser-focused on him defensively, the Lakers did not show an ability to adequately defend him in Game 1. You can be as focused as ever, but some players are just too good, so unless they look to trap early and double, I see it being another big night for Lillard.
On FanDuel, Lillard is available for $10k and is projected for 48.2 points. Nurkic is also a mid-level salary player that is worthy of a look as well.
Lakers vs Trail Blazers Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -270
Trail Blazers Odds: +230
The Lakers are favored to win this Game 2 matchup in the first round of the playoffs by 6,5 points.
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