Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers game 4 preview

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24 August 2020 – 18h00 PT
Blazers injuries: Rodney Hood (absent), Trevor Ariza (deactivated), Nassir Little (absent), Zach Collins (withdrawn), Caleb Swanigan (deactivated)
Lakers injuries: Rajon Rondo (doubtful), Avery Bradley (deactivated)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, TNT (or check out Fubo for your streaming needs)
Radio: 6 h 20
SBN Affiliate: Silver screen and roller

The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to dodge a 3-1 hole against the Los Angeles Lakers and even rally to the series.

Game 3 was proof of the Blazers’ exhaustion on every level. With so many key players missing, Portland was visibly exhausted throughout the second half, in which the Lakers turned a four-point deficit at halftime into a seven-point lead after three. Damian Lillard did what he could, scoring 34 points, but remained cool in the fourth quarter. LeBron James had 38 points, including 12 from the free throw line, as the Blazers’ depth was tested immensely by early foul issues.

To monitor

  • Find common ground. The Blazers really need some clarification from the NBA League front office on what constitutes a foul. The only times in Game 3 where the appeals went to Portland were when Gary Trent Jr. took an elbow in the face in defense of LeBron James and fell to the ground. If the Blazers can’t stop a clear James or Anthony Davis practice, there’s not much hope left.
  • Assault the Rim. Jusuf Nurkic left several points on the rim in Game 3 as he tried to get ahead of Anthony Davis in the hoop attack. Nurkic tried to return the ball, anticipating an attempt to block Davis, but instead he was simply missing a highly achievable shot. Nurkic may have been in trouble at the time and Davis gets more than the lion’s share of fouls against him, but Nurkic needs to hit the basket straight away. Otherwise, there’s no reason to bother defending him, putting too much pressure on Lillard and CJ McCollum.
  • Find a place for Carmelo. Carmelo Anthony played well in bubble games, but struggled tremendously in the Lakers series. He scored 20 in Game 3, but on a very ineffective 9 of 20 shot. Overall, he’s shooting 35.1% from the field in the series so far. Anthony clearly doesn’t want to be shown by his 2003 NBA selection mate and friend LeBron James, but Anthony forces shots from the wrong angles. He’s been at his best recently on long-range catch-and-shoot, and should come back to be successful.

What they say

Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll spoke about the Lakers ‘game plan to slow the Blazers’ attack:

In the 55.4 partial possessions, Lillard was defended by Caruso, he shot 41.2% from the field, according to NBA.com. For context, Lillard shot 63.6% from the field in the 43.1 partial possessions he defended by Caldwell-Pope.

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