NBA PREVIEWS |

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers Preview and Predictions 12-28-2019


The Los Angeles Lakers hope to have LeBron James on the floor as they attempt to halt a season-worst four-game losing streak on Saturday night when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers. James aggravated a groin injury during the Lakers' 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day and is hoping the time off will allow the injury to heal.

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James has recently been bothered by the groin injury and a thoracic muscle strain in his back and the latter injury caused him to miss Sunday's 128-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets. "I'm always around the clock with my body, getting my treatment," James told reporters of the possibility of playing against Portland. "If I'm feeling great, I'll be in the lineup. If I'm feeling well, I'll be in the lineup." The Trail Blazers have lost back-to-back games after enjoying a season-long four-game winning streak and they trailed by 20 points after three quarters in Thursday's 121-115 loss to the host Utah Jazz. "It was just a tough game," Portland star point guard Damian Lillard said afterward. "I thought (the Jazz) were the better team, but I was really proud of how we fought. Having adversity in pretty much every quarter, we just kept fighting."

TV: 10 p.m. ET, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles), NBCS Northwest (Portland)

ABOUT THE LAKERS (24-7): Forward Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points in the loss to the Clippers and he is averaging 20.5 points in two games since returning from an ankle injury. "This is the Kuz that we envisioned throughout the summer and since I've been here," Los Angeles first-year coach Frank Vogel told reporters. "Someone that can just fill it up. He's working hard on the defensive end, he gives us a long body on that end that plays extremely hard and changes the energy of the group. He was terrific (against the Clippers) and it's good to see him get going." Kuzma was slowed at the start of the season by a foot injury that caused him to miss the first four contests.

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (14-18): Lillard made 7-of-13 3-point attempts while scoring 34 points and recording eight assists against Utah, one game after missing all 10 of his long-range shots in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Shooting guard CJ McCollum added 25 points for Portland to reach 20 or more in his sixth straight game and is averaging 27 points during the stretch. Center Hassan Whiteside struggled with just eight points and six rebounds against the Jazz after averaging 19.5 boards over the previous four contests.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Lakers PF Anthony Davis recorded 39 points and James added 31 as the Lakers posted a 136-113 win in Portland on Dec. 6 for their third win in the past four meetings after the Trail Blazers won the previous 16 matchups.

2. Los Angeles SG Danny Green is averaging 5.5 points in the past two games after scoring 21 in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 19.

3. Portland PF Carmelo Anthony has no blocks in the past two games after rejecting 10 in his previous four appearances.

Prediction

Free Daily Lock Pick: NBA: Washington vs. Milwaukee - January 28th - (100% Confidence Release)

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Stadium

Moda Center at the Rose Quarter
Portland, Oregon, USA.
Capacity: 19,980

Last Injuries

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Jusuf Nurkic

    Leg
    Late Feb | out

    Nurkic is recovering from surgeries to repair compact fractures in both his left tibia and fibula. He is expected to be out of action until after the All-Star break.

  • CJ McCollum

    Ankle
    Prob Sun | probable

    McCollum has missed the last three games with a sprained left ankle, but it is likely he will return Sunday versus the Pacers.

  • Hassan Whiteside

    Groin
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Whiteside has a groin contusion but is expected to take the court Thursday versus the Mavericks.

  • Kent Bazemore

    Acquired
    Prob Wed | probable

    Bazemore was recently acquired via a trade and is expected to make his debut against the Pistons on Wednesday.

  • Anthony Tolliver

    Acquired
    Prob Wed | probable

    Tolliver is projected to be available for Wednesday's contest versus the Pistons despite being recently acquired through a trade.

  • Damian Lillard

    Illness
    Prob Sat | probable

    Lillard is ailing from an illness but is expected to take the court against the Thunder on Saturday.

  • Gary Trent Jr.

    Illness
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Trent Jr. exited the previous game with an illness, and it is unknown if he will be available for Saturday's contest against the Thunder.

  • Damian Lillard

    Illness
    day-to-day | questionable

    Lillard has an upper-respiratory illness, and it is unknown if it will impede his status for Friday's game against the Mavericks.

Los Angeles Lakers

  • JaVale McGee

    Flu
    Ques Fri | questionable

    McGee has been absent from the lineup during the last two games with flu-like symptoms, and it is unclear if he will suit up for Friday's matchup versus the Trail Blazers.

  • DeMarcus Cousins

    Knee
    out for season | out

    Cousins suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

  • Kyle Kuzma

    Ankle
    Prob Sat | probable

    Kuzma has a sore left ankle, but is expected to play against the 76ers on Saturday.

  • Rajon Rondo

    Finger
    Prob Sat | probable

    Rondo is dealing with an injured finger on his right hand, but will likely be available to face the 76ers on Saturday.

  • Anthony Davis

    Buttocks
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Davis is nursing a gluteus maximus contusion, and it is unclear if he will be in the lineup against the 76ers on Saturday.

  • Kyle Kuzma

    Ankle
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Kuzma is expected to be available for Thursday's contest against the Nets despite left ankle soreness.

  • Rajon Rondo

    Finger
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Rondo is recovering from a non-displaced volar plate avulsion fracture of the right ring finger but is projected to face the Nets on Thursday.

  • Anthony Davis

    Buttocks
    Prob Thurs | probable

    Davis is suffering from a gluteus maximus contusion, but he is likely to suit up against the Nets on Thursday.