Things You Already Know:
After receiving word that future franchise center Greg Oden was out for the season with a knee injury, many expected the youthful Blazers squad to sink to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Instead, Portland has rallied to become one of the league’s biggest surprises, knocking down a shocking 13 straight wins at one point earlier this season and leading the Northwest Division for much of the season’s first half.
Brandon Roy has emerged as the on and off the court leader for the Blazers this season, following up on his impressive Rookie-of-the-Year campaign with a stellar first half of the season that earned him first All-Star Game selection. After 56 games, Roy is averaging a team-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds.
Things You Might Not Know:
Roy is hardly the only Trailblazer to be having a breakout season though as teammate LaMarcus Aldridge has also blown up this year, averaging nearly 17 points and seven rebounds per game. The balanced Blazers attack also gets strong contributions from Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, Jarrett Jack and Steve Blake.
The Lakers lost the season series to the Blazers last season, 1-2, with the two teams splitting their last 10 games against one another. The last time Portland flew to Los Angeles—Mar. 16, 2007—Kobe went off for 65 points in the second most prolific scoring night of his career.
Thing You Need To Know:
At 29-27 and riding a two game losing streak entering tonight’s matchup against the ever-improving Lakers, it looks like the young cats from Portland have finally come back to earth after a magical first half of the season. However, the Blazers roster is loaded with talent and is easily capable of catching the Lakers off guard and stealing one on L.A.’s home court.
Although today’s game notes don’t list him as injured, all signs point to Blazers’ star Brandon Roy missing tonight’s game due to an ankle injury suffered in Portland’s loss to Boston on Sunday. The Lakers will be somewhat short-handed too as forward Vladimir Radmanovic will likely not play due to a strained right calf. Without Roy, the Lakers will be looking to build on their longest win streak since the end of the 2003-2004 season when they last reached the NBA Finals.