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Lakers at Trail Blazers: 3 Things to Know (12/6/19)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers finish their road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers.
1) The road has been paved purple and gold
The Lakers are coming off arguably their most impressive stretch of the season, having taken care of Denver and Utah on back-to-back nights.
In. case beating the West’s No. 2 and No. 6 teams in a span of 24 hours wasn’t impressive enough, the Lakers also did so while several players were fighting the flu in games played at the NBA’s highest altitude. And these were convincing victories, as the Lakers beat their hosts by a combined 34 points and kept both under 100 points.
The Lakers are now 10-0 away from STAPLES Center — a streak not seen since the turn of the millennium.
2) Rondo is in his groove
Rajon Rondo was instrumental to the Lakers’ victory in Denver, dropping 14 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds in a true do-it-all performance.
Rondo — who moved up to 17th on the NBA’s all-time assists leaderboard during that game — has been dropping dimes with regularity this season. In fact, only Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham (7.6) is averaging more assists off the bench than Rondo (6.1).
But that kind of production is somewhat expected of a passer of Rondo’s caliber. What’s been shockingly impressive is his 3-point shooting. Before the season, Frank Vogel promised that Rondo — a career 32.1% from deep — had improved his shooting, and now he’s hitting a ridiculous 50.0% of his 3s.
3) Melo’s injected life into Portland
Who would’ve thought that “reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Carmelo Anthony” would be a phrase this season? After missing more than a year of NBA basketball, Melo has proven that he’s still got it.
Last week, he averaged 22.3 points and 7.7 rebounds to start a turnaround for a Blazers squad that started the season 5-12. Now, he’ll look to keep it going against one of his best friends, LeBron James. Bron holds the 19-14 lead in their all-time head-to-head matchups and has won 12 of their last 15.
But Carmelo’s squad is looking mighty dangerous right now. One-man artillery Damian Lillard ranks among the NBA’s top 10 in scoring, assists, made free throws and made 3s. C.J. McCollum is a jumper machine from both mid-range and 3-point distance.
Lakers: Avery Bradley (hairline fracture, right leg) and DeMarcus Cousins (rehabilitation, right knee) are out. Talen Horton-Tucker, Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo are on G League assignment.
Blazers: Gary Trent Jr. (right hamstring strain) is questionable. Jusuf Nurkic (left leg fracture) and Zach Collins (left shoulder dislocation) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet locally, ESPN nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Purple Statement
Location: Moda Center — Portland, Oregon
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