The Lakers dominated a Pistons side that had recorded road wins over the Warriors and the Clippers. Seven players scored in double-digits, led by 17 points from Julius Randle. The Lakers were also hot from the 3-point stripe, converting an impressive 46.2% of their shots from deep. However, the real positive came from their defensive performance, which held the Pistons to only 43% shooting from the field, and 30% from deep.
The Trail Blazers have lost three of their last four games, and host the Lakers in the second game of a back-to-back. Their last outing was a 112-103 overtime defeat to Utah, a game Portland were on the verge of winning until a late Jazz rally took it into overtime. The Jazz showed why they’re one of the better defensive teams in the league, holding the Blazers’ offense to just 40% shooting from the field and a measly 26% shooting from deep. The Blazers have stalled after a fairly impressive start to the season and a win on Thursday night is necessary to stop the rut.
Keys to the game
Shooting – The Blazers have gone cold with shooting, converting 40% or less in their last three losses. They need to re-discover their range if they are to turn their fortunes around.
Rebounding battle – The Lakers and Blazers are both in the top ten in rebounding in the league. It will be interesting to see who wins the battle in the paint.
Transition play – The rebounders on these teams are not limited to just the big men. Both Damian Lillard and Lonzo Ball are averaging over five rebounds per game, which they can turn into fast-paced opportunities on the break.
Matchup to watch
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope vs C. J. McCollum – KCP has shown shines of being an impressive scorer for this Lakers team, while C. J. McCollum is already established as one of the premier two guards in the league. Both players have been pedestrian in their last few matches, however, and will need to step it up on Thursday night.
Los Angeles Lakers projected lineup
PG – Lonzo Ball | SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | SF – Brandon Ingram | PF – Larry Nance Jr | C – Brook Lopez |
Portland Trail Blazers projected lineup
PG – Damian Lillard | SG – C. J. McCollum | SF – Maurice Harkless | PF – Al-Farouq Aminu | C – Jusuf Nurkic |
Lillard managed 33 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a losing effort against the Jazz, which was his second consecutive 30+ point outing. The Trail Blazers’ point guard is in form and looks primed for another big game against the Lakers.
The over/under is 210.5, but there should be plenty of points in a game featuring two offensively minded teams. Over is the way to go.
The Lakers were impressive against Detroit while Portland have had their struggles, yet the Trail Blazers will respond to their recent poor form with a win on Thursday night.
The game will be shown on TNT. Tip-off is at 10:30pm ET.
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