Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Lakers 1/31/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Daily Fantasy
Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
This will be a very emotional game for the Lakers as their first game since the passing of Kobe Bryant. Staples Center will be packed and desperate for a win during this emotional time. While the Lakers are the more talented team, the Blazers are currently constructed to focus on outscoring opponents for the most part. The additions of Carmelo and Ariza bolstered their wing position greatly. Carmelo will not play tonight as he is still grieving, yet Ariza has been great since arriving in Portland. He will look to relieve some pressure from Lillard and CJ. Unlike most teams, a fully healthy Trail Blazers team matches up well with the Lakers. They have the bigs to at least somewhat contain the Lakers bigs. They have the perimeter shooting and scoring, along with very clutch players. Their main shortcoming will be their lack of defense on the perimeter, and the Lakers ultimately have too much firepower. If I’m an advisor for the Blazers, I’m preaching defense, defense, and more defense before this game. The Blazers have simply not focused much on defending other teams, and this is not a key for success against a formidable Lakers offense.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, LA
Lakers: Alex Caruso (DTD)
Blazers: Carmelo Anthony (DTD), Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, Jusuf Nurkic
PG: Avery Bradey
SG: Danny Green
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
It is not secret just how much the Lakers players respected and admired Kobe. As a result, one should expect them to start this game energized and motivated. Not only are they as healthy as they have been all season, but also will be coming off 6 days of rest. Their last game was the 25th in a loss against the 76ers. The Lakers will look to start a new streak, with 4 win streaks on the year totaling seven games or more. With both Lillard and McCollum on the court, there will be obvious mismatches. Lebron and other perimeter players (Kuzma/Caldwell-Pope) will not have much trouble scoring when they please. If the Lakers play with defensive intensity, this should not be a problem for them at home.
Blazers Starting Lineup
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Nassir Little
C: Hassan Whiteside
Sitting at 21-27, the Blazers are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs. As we near All-Star break, teams will continue to make a playoff push. As the 10th seed, they have a lot of ground to make up. Their additions of Carmelo and Ariza will certainly give them a better shot, but they simply need to start winning games. Given how stacked the West is and just how brutal their schedule is, there cannot be any major off-games for Lillard or McCollum for the near future. It appears the additions may have disrupted some chemistry for other players. Lillard has certainly been on of late, but McCollum and others will need to pick up the slack.
Key Player Matchups
Lebron James vs. Trevor Ariza
This matchup may ultimately decide the game. How well does Ariza guard James? He certainly has the length, but not the strength or athleticism. Hassan will be at the rim and can hopefully influence some shots, so Ariza should do his best to keep James in front.
James and Davis will both do great in fantasy like usual, although the Blazers have much better defense inside compared to the perimeter. As a result, look for someone like Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, or Danny Green to get hot on the perimeter. For the Blazers, Lillard could very well struggle in this matchup against one of the biggest teams in NBA history. Either he or McCollum will struggle, while the other has a good game.
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