Lakers vs Blazers in round 1 of the playoffs could be a reality during the NBA Bubble. How would the match up pan out for both sides?
The teams are entering the bubble soon and much has already been made of a potential New Orleans Pelicans & Los Angeles Lakers first-round series. When King James would go up against the next big thing in Zion Williamson. How the baby Lakers would come back to haunt the current version of the team.
Though they obviously need to win the majority of their games to get there in the first place, none of the other squads were on a roll before the regular season got suspended and have such an easier schedule.
Lakers vs Blazers in playoffs round 1
But the joker in the pack is the Damian Lillard led Portland Blazers who are a few games off the Grizzlies, but not only do they have the advantage of the tiebreaker because they have played more games than all their competitors, they have two rotation bigs coming back to the team. The Blazers also have the most experienced squad among the team vying for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
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The playoff Dame is a different beast and outside of Curry-Thompson , Lillard – CJ McCollum are undoubtedly the best frontcourt in the NBA.
The way they dispatched OKC last year is stuff of legends and additionally they sent Paul George packing and out of Okhaloma City searching for security in Clippers. When it’s Dame time , he can score 50+ pts at will.
If the Blazers play the way that they played last year and deservingly reached the Western Conference finals, then they can meet the Lakers in the first round. Though we don’t know how the league will work it, there is obviously no home-court advantage. With Nurkic and Collins now back in tow they have dependable players to change games and their chances will take a boost due to this.
In such a case, how do the Blazers match-up against the Lakers. Arguably in them and Dallas , Lakers and Clippers would have worthy first round opponents respectively.
How will Lakers cope without Bradley?
With the loss of Avery Bradley, Lakers don’t have an able ball hogger to control Lillard and such a situation can result him in torching them at will.
Though the Lakers still match up well with the Blazers in terms of their guard defenders, the Lakers are nowhere near the Blazers offensively with guard play.In January, Lillard had 48 points and 10 assists, torching Bradley until he was benched and replaced by Alex Caruso. Much would depend on Danny Green now and how he handles the defence on this end.
Who would win between Lakers and the Blazers?
One point where Lakers have an advantage is they have arguably the best Bigs in the league currently and they lead the league in blocks per game column. Better big means better interior defense and more control on offensive glass.
Even if Davis plays 5 which he has been reluctant to do so far , him and James would torch any combination of bodies that Portland might put on them. Moreover, in transition Davis & LeBron camaraderie would make Lakers a nightmare matchup for Lillard & co. when it comes to transition defense.
They also don’t have services Trevor Ariza and Rodney Hood to guard LeBron and now no matter who they put on him would have a hard time controlling the machine that King James is.This will be a big problem for Stotts on the defensive end of the floor and he might have most of his big men in foul trouble by the time they reach 4th quarter.
The Lakers second unit is also more solid compared to Portland and with the addition of JR Smith and Dion Waiters, they have two players who can catch fire at any time during the playoffs. Most importantly the Lakers have the best player in the league in LeBron James.
For Portland to make this a series they would need Lillard to scorch and torch Lakers for 40 minutes every game. Which is highly unlikely given that the Lakers are one of the best defensive squads in the NBA and have dogs at every position.
Sorry Portland faithfuls but it would be Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 in a scenario that this do happen.