Fixture: Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers
Date & Time: Friday December 6, 2019, 10:30 PM ET(Saturday, 3:30 AM GMT)
Venue: Moda Center, Portland.
After wins at Denver and Utah, the Lakers will be travelling to Portland- a place where the Lakers have struggled historically. And when that happens, the No.1 and No. 3 picks of the 2003 Draft will be facing each other. Weeks after being named the Western Conference player of the week, Carmelo Anthony will face LeBron James for the 34th time in an illustrious career. A prospect that, until a month ago, seemed highly improbable.
With a win-loss record of 19-3, the Lakers sit comfortably on top of the Western Conference. The trip to Portland will be their third consecutive away game, and they will be playing five out of the next six away from Staples Centre. Incredibly, they are yet to lose outside of the Staples Centre and will be looking to stretch that record.
However, Portland hasn’t been the easiest of visiting places for the Lakers right from the Shaq-Kobe days. Although the Trail Blazers were rarely the favourites, they have often come up with surprises. Coming into Friday’s game, the Trail Blazers are ninth in the Western Conference with a win-loss record of 9-13. Melo’s arrival seemed to spark a resurgence to an ordinary start. They have won five of their last six games, but a face an uphill task when they try to get their the win of the season.
Injury updates & team news-
Portland Trail Blazers-
Injuries: Gary Trent Jr. (Hamstring)- Questionable, Jusuf Nurkic (Lower Leg)- Out, Zach Collins (Shoulder)- Out
Expected starting line up: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Rodney Hood, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside
Los Angeles Lakers-
Injuries: Anthony Davis (Shoulder)- Probable, Kyle Kuzma (Ankle)- Probable, Avery Bradley (Lower leg)- Out, DeMarcus Cousins (Knee)- Out
The Trail Blazers will have to find a defensive system suitable to stop the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Davis, although is reported to have a shoulder sourness, is expected to play on Friday. He is the best scorer for the Lakers in terms of points per game, while LeBron has the highest number of assists per game.
Offensively, Trail Blazers have been boosted by the arrival of Carmelo Anthony. He will be helped by the likes of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They will be tested against one of the best defensive teams in the league, and it seems extremely difficult for the home team to come up with a positive result.