Playoff reunion for the Los Angeles Lakers
The last time the Lakers saw the playoffs was in 2013. That’s a whole seven years ago but who is keeping track anymore? A playoff deprived fanbase can relish on their team being contenders yet again.
Finishing with the best record out in the Western Conference, the Lakers secured some sort of “home-court advantage”. Not that it matters in the NBA Bubble a whole lot but perhaps we could see more celebrities appear as virtual fans. Of course, if the Portland Trailblazers force more than 4 games.
Furthermore, the Lakers enter the playoffs as the third-best ranked in defensive efficiency. Anthony Davis is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and LeBron James is an MVP candidate.
In addition, Kyle Kuzma has emerged as a third potential player to support the offense next to the Lakers stars. In the seven seeding games he appeared in Kuzma averaged, 15.4 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field (44 percent from the three-point line).
He also was the recipient of an inbound pass from James to knock down a game-winning three-point field goal against the Denver Nuggets in a seeding game.
Rajon Rondo is expected to clear quarantine but no timetable on his return. The Lakers guard was expected to miss about 6 weeks due to a finger injury.
Will Dame Time send home the Lakers early?
In case you missed the Dame Time and Los Angeles Clippers beef, familiarize yourself as Clippers forward Paul George joked that Damian Lillard will be going home early this year.
While Dame Dolla is the unanimous MVP of the NBA Bubble and Portland willed their way to the 8th seed, this might be too high of a feat. Highest area of concern for the Blazers? Defense.
Portland allows 116.2 points per game from their opponent which is ranked 6th in the NBA. If we take a look at a smaller sample size in the bubble their opponent averaged 138.6 points per game in the eight seeding games Portland played.
In other words, it’s almost like Portland shoots themselves in the foot by giving us a high scoring output but allowing the same. Portland’s point differential in their 8 seeding games was 5.3 points per game. Imagine if a little bit more defense was applied? A few of their games might have been more of a distanced win.
Without a doubt, the Blazers come in as the 8th seed hot and a 4 game win streak. The Lakers rested Anthony Davis and LeBron James respectively in a couple of seeding games. This could set up for Portland to take a game early on and perhaps a one more.
Dame’s heroics will definitely be needed but can it last over a 7 game series? Probably not. Keep in mind C.J. McCollum is also playing with a back injury although he helped close out the Memphis Grizzlies in the Play-In game.
La-La-Lakers head to the Semis
Certainly, the Lakers should be favored to win this one by no more than 6 games to be safe. A little rust might bother the Lakers and getting to see playoff LeBron a full speed sounds all so joyous.
Sorry Dame Time, the journey ends here and you’re probably going home a little earlier than the other Los Angeles team. My prediction? Lakers in 5.
(1) Lakers vs (8) Trailblazers
|Game 1||POR @ LAL||TNT||8/18/20 | 9:00 PM EST|
|Game 2||POR @ LAL||ESPN||8/20/20 | 9:00 PM EST|
|Game 3||LAL @ POR||ABC||8/22/20 | 8:30 PM EST|
|Game 4||LAL @ POR||TNT||8/24/20 | 9:00 PM EST|
|Game 5||POR @ LAL||*TBD If Needed|
|Game 6||LAL @ POR||*TBD If Needed|
|Game 7||POR @ LAL||*TBD If Needed|