The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t quite the same team that’s managed a 20-13 record, good for second place in the Northwest Division.
Their best player, Brandon Roy, didn’t even make the trip to L.A. due to a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a few more games on top of the three he’ll have missed after Sunday. Roy does have a history of getting injured, as he missed 25 games his rookie year and eight last season. The Blazers, thus, have been without Roy before, and this season add Spaniard Rudy Fernandez to slide into Roy’s shooting guard slot. Where Portland probably misses Roy the most, however, is late in games; Travis Outlaw may be the Blazer towards which they turn if the Fernandez/LaMarcus Aldridge high screen and roll isn’t clicking.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have lost just once at home this season – back on Nov. 14 against Detroit – compared with 17 wins. The purple and gold has also yet to lose while wearing their Sunday and holiday white jerseys.
Alas, here’s assistant coach Brian Shaw with more on the matchup in our LakersTV video segment: LAKERS SHOOTAROUND: BRIAN SHAW