The Portland Trail Blazers will try to keep their momentum going on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday evening.
Both teams split their first two games of the regular season. Portland is fresh off of a comeback victory against a shorthanded Houston Rockets team. Meanwhile, the Lakers made a statement without blowout Christmas Day win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Can the Trail Blazers take down the defending NBA Champion Lakers at the Staples Center on Monday night?
Melo to miss Lakers game due to “healthy and safety protocols”
Portland bounced back from its opening night loss on Saturday night with a resounding 128-126 overtime victory at home versus the Houston Rockets. The Trail Blazers were down as many as 15 points in the first half but battled back to force the extra session. CJ McCollum scored 44 points, including a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds remaining in the overtime period to send Portland to its first win of the season. Damian Lillard finished with 32 points and nine assists while Jusuf Nurkic added 12 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the win.
The Trail Blazers will be playing Monday’s matchup without forward Carmelo Anthony due to “health and safety protocols”. Anthony, who played 20 minutes in Saturday’s overtime win against Houston will not make the trip to Los Angeles. Look for Gary Trent Jr. to get a little more run in Anthony’s absence. Trent Jr. played well in the blowout loss versus Utah, scoring 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range but earned just six minutes in the overtime win against Houston.
Portland comes into its third game of the season scoring 109.6 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 14th in the NBA. However, the Trail Blazers have allowed 118.8 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor, good for the second-worst mark in the league.
Lakers cruise vs. Mavs on Christmas Day
Los Angeles avenged their season-opening loss by dismantling the Dallas Mavericks 138-115 on Christmas Day. Anthony Davis finished with a team-high 28 points while LeBron James added 22 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in the win. The Lakers shot a blistering 19-for-39 from 3-point range and 56.0 percent from the field en route to the blowout win.While Los Angeles is only two games into its NBA title defense, the Lakers haven’t shown any signs of fatigue after enduring the shortest offseason in NBA history. Head coach Frank Vogel hasn’t been afraid to turn to the Lakers’ second unit through their first two games and it has paid off in a big way. Led by Montrezl Harrell (19.5 points per game), Los Angeles has been averaging 53 bench points per game through two contests.
That’s helped the Lakers sport one of the league’s best offensive ratings to start the season. Los Angeles comes in scoring 119.3 points per 100 possessions through its first two contests (2nd in the NBA) while allowing only 112.7 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (21st in the NBA).
L.A. will be playing this game on the second leg of a back-to-back after taking on the Timberwolves on Sunday night. It’s worth noting that Anthony Davis is expected to sit out of the Timberwolves game with a right calf contusion. Keep an eye on Davis’ status ahead of Monday’s matchup.