Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers head into their exciting matchup playing a quality brand of basketball. The Lakers appear to finally be turning a corner after a sluggish start, thanks in no small part to their increased cohesion as a unit and the addition of defensive stalwart Tyson Chandler.
On the other hand, the Trail Blazers continue to light up the league, as their 10-3 mark is currently good for second in an unforgiving Western Conference. Point guard Damian Lillard continues to find ways to up his game and has the Blazers pegged as one of the surprise teams so far this year thanks to a scorching hot start.
Featured Pick #1: How many points will be scored total? (Over 231)
With defense seemingly becoming a complete afterthought in the NBA this season, no one embodies today’s high-flying scoring pace better than the Blazers and Lakers. Both teams are able to light up a scoreboard thanks to their explosive scorers, and this should certainly be the case when the two square off.
Both the Blazers and Lakers are in the NBA’s top seven when it comes to points scored per game. The Lakers currently rank sixth with 116.2 points scored per game while the Blazers follow right behind at the seventh spot with 115.8. As has become typical of a marquee Western Conference matchup, points won’t be at a premium, as we can expect the clubs to fly up and down the court all night long en route to a high-scoring affair.
Though Portland has been surprisingly staunch on the defensive end, the Lakers fall on the other side of the spectrum. They are currently sacrificing 115.5 points per game defensively, a mark the Blazers should smash with their potent offensive weapons. In order to keep up, the Lakers and LeBron James will have to post gaudy scoring numbers themselves, something they’ve proven capable of when at home.
Featured Pick #2: Who will score the most first-half points? (LeBron James)
Though we know the dynamic scoring ability of Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, it’s almost a fact that the Los Angeles Lakers boast the best player on the court at all times in LeBron James. This will again be the case Wednesday and it should be made clear early and often.
James has turned back into his usual stellar self in recent games and should continue that against a thin Portland forward rotation. Though Al-Farouq Aminu is one of the better defenders in the NBA, James should have no trouble navigating his way to a big scoring game in a home matchup expected to turn into a high-scoring affair.
Damian Lillard’s typically explosive self-has also struggled noticeably in Portland’s recent outings, though it hasn’t translated to losses. Lillard has only cracked the 20-point plateau in one of their past four games and has shot just over 40 percent during that stretch.
Featured Pick #3: Who will win the game? (Trail Blazers by 1-10 points)
Even with the Lakers reeling off three straight wins to boost their record to a game above .500 at 7-6, they have done so against weaker competition. Their recent wins came against the Hawks, Timberwolves and surprisingly serviceable Sacramento Kings.
Facing a solid team like the Blazers on both ends of the court will be a daunting task for the Lakers. The Blazers themselves have come out on top in four consecutive outings, including a big win against the Boston Celtics days ago. Given their momentum and propensity to show up when the lights are brightest, the Blazers should put on a show at Staples Center and come away with another marquee victory over the Lakers.
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