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Lakers
Photo Credit: USA Today

Game Preview: Lakers vs Trailblazers – 8/26/2020

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(#1) Los Angeles Lakers (3-1)  |  (#8) Portland Trailblazers (1-3)

 

The Lakers will look to clinch the series and eliminate Portland to advance to the next round.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers have now won three consecutive games since dropping Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers.

 

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Perhaps it was Mamba Day. Maybe it was those sweet black snakeskin Kobe jerseys. Perhaps the Lakers finally are back in their true dominant form and found their rhythm. Regardless, they won the game looking like the top seed in the Western Conference in blowout fashion.

Heading into the playoffs, Portland was the hottest team in the league (except for the Phoenix Suns). They took that momentum into the postseason and upset Los Angeles in the first game of the series.

After that loss, many people thought that the Lake Show was in trouble, including me. But they took the loss as a wake-up call and regrouped themselves to take back the momentum the Trail Blazers.

Since winning Game 2, the Lakers have not looked back, and it definitely showed in their dominant victory in Game 4. Los Angeles started on a 15-0 run, and the game basically was over after that. Later in the first quarter, the score was 24-8, making LeBron James say that Kobe Bryant was definitely in the building with them.

The Lakers led the entire game, with their biggest lead being by 38 points at the 9:21 mark in the third quarter. In fact, that play was culminated by a James‘ 36-foot three-pointer that went in with ease, culminating how everything was going the Lakers‘ way throughout the game.

 

The entire fourth quarter was garbage time, and by the time it ended, the score was 135-115. It may have ended as a 20 point game, but the blowout was far worse.

 

Photo Credit: Blazers Edge

To make matters worse for the Blazers, Damian Lillard left the game in the third quarter after his right knee seemed to buckle on a drive to the hoop, and he did not return. After receiving an MRI, it was ruled inconclusive, and they will have to run another test after the swelling goes down. Lillard, who was later ruled out for Game 5, so it seems like the Lakers‘ chances to clinch the series are fairly high. Although Lillard is not playing, we hope he is not seriously injured.

Since dropping the first game, Anthony Davis has looked like the perennial all-star he is known to be. He has been hitting his mid-range and three-point shots and dunking with force every time he is thrown an alley-oop or on a put-back. On defense, he is locking up and making sure to use his size to his advantage when blocking and altering shots. I was very critical of his play throughout the seeding games and Game 1. But he has definitely stepped it up and has been a beast in the past three games.

Although he is playing great, Davis is kind of on injury watch due to back spasms. He ended up leaving the game in the third and not returning, but luckily he was not needed due to their significantly large lead. I am sure it is not as serious, and he will be able to play in Game 5.

 

After being probable the past few games of the series, it seems like Rajon Rondo will probably sit out Game 5 as well since they do not seem to need him to close out the series.

 

Rondo seems to be recovering well since breaking his left thumb in before the scrimmage games in early July. Rondo has been practicing with the team and getting some workouts in before games, leading to him probably returning for the second round of the playoffs.

Also, stepping it up since dropping the first game, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have been hitting their shots with a lot more consistency. It seems like everyone is starting to find their rhythms against all at the same time, which is great news as the Lakers are starting to find their stride on their way to a deep playoff run. Green and Caldwell-Pope are also making sure to continue to play their high caliber level defense.

Big men JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard are also doing their part in the frontcourt. McGee ran the floor on offense, was rewarded with easy buckets, and even recorded four blocks in Game 4. Since the series started, Howard has done a great job of mixing it up Hassan Whiteside, Jusuf Nurkic, Carmelo Anthony, or whoever else was in the post with him. Howard’s play has constantly riled up and frustrated the opposition, especially in the last game.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: OregonLive.com

The Blazers were frustrated and furious throughout the game, resulting in various technical fouls. By the end of the game, Portland had three technical fouls and one flagrant foul.

Now the Lake Show needs one more win to advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they will either face off against either the Houston Rockets or Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

 

The Lakers play against Portland in Game 5 on Wednesday, August 26, at 6 pm. You can watch the game on TNT and Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter- KyleRandolphFSM

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