(Photo By: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Lakers vs. Blazers: 3 Things to Know (3/5/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers return home to face the Portland Trail Blazers.
1) Twin Streaks
This a battle between two of the hottest teams in the NBA, as both the Lakers and Blazers enter the game 5-0 since the All-Star Break.
The two squads have taken much different routes to this point.
The Lakers’ offense has been putting the scoreboard to work, averaging 121.4 points during this stretch — the second-most in the NBA.
Meanwhile, the Blazers’ defense is playing the role of “immovable object,” as they have allowed a league-low 96.6 opponent points since the break.
With this clash of style, Damian Lillard could end up being the difference-maker. Over his last six games, the All-Star has averaged an electrifying 31.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.2 made 3-pointers.
: Lakers close the game on a 25-9 run to pick up the comeback W in San Antonio pic.twitter.com/IUJeEODyqE— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 4, 2018
2) Lonzo’s return has elevated the Lakers
Not only have the Lakers won each of Lonzo Ball’s first three games back from injury, the rookie point guard has been a huge part of each victory.
He is averaging 12.0 points, 7.3 assists and 6.8 rebounds during this stretch, while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and canning 3.5 3-pointers a night.
Speaking of 3’s, Ball’s last 15 games have bucked back against the narrative of him being a bad shooter. During this span, he has hit 44.4 percent of his triples — sixth-best in the NBA.
Ball took his game to new heights while leading the Lakers’ latest win.
In San Antonio on Saturday, he knocked down a season-high six 3-pointers — half of which came with the game on the line in the final three minutes.
: Lonzo Ball became the first Laker in franchise history to hit at least 6 three-pointers with 11 assists in a single game pic.twitter.com/9AFLMU3UKf— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 4, 2018
3) Randle is rolling
With Ball’s huge finale, it can be possible to overlook just how much Julius Randle did to keep the Lakers in that tilt with the Spurs.
For the second straight game, the streaking big man scored exactly 25 points, and he did much of his work in tandem with Ball, who assisted on five of Randle’s eight buckets.
Randle has been one of the game’s most efficient players lately, making half his shots or more in 10 straight games. In this sample, he has averaged 20.6 points on a 60.1 percent clip, plus 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Another one of Randle’s key talents is his ability to switch defensively — something the Lakers did a lot of against the Spurs. If Brandon Ingram (hip flexor strain) is unable to play again, L.A. could go right back to that switching in order to help cover for guys like Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope having to play out of position.
: Julius Randle scores 25 for the second consecutive game, to lead the Lakers to their 5th-straight win. pic.twitter.com/71tpxgMeui— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 4, 2018
Lakers: Brandon Ingram (left hip flexor strain) is questionable. Josh Hart (left hand fourth metacarpal fracture) and Channing Frye (appendectomy) are out.
Blazers: Maurice Harkless (knee) is questionable.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. NBA TV nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: STAPLES Center