Portland Trail Blazers had a long way before they made it to the eighth seed. From 29-37 as the 9th place in the Western Conference to record a 6-2 and win a play-in against the Memphis Grizzlies. Damian Lillard is on fire the next four games which incredible. He scored 154 points in the last three games in the bubble and 31 against the Grizzlies.
This time the top seed Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for them. The matchup has been hype right from the start by the media. Charles Barkley favored the Blazers to win the series and could reach the Western Conference Finals. Especially how the Lakers played in the bubble.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will look unstoppable against the Lakers. But this Los Angeles team have two of their best player while LeBron James is healthy as ever and highly motivated. At 35, he’s a finalist in the MVP race this season. The 17-year veteran is averaging 25 points, 8 rebounds, and league-leading 10 assists per game. Add Anthony Davis who’s been a nightmare for the Blazers in the past when he’s still a Pelicans. The big man will attract a double team that the Blazers have a problem with their perimeter defense. The lack of depth to guard either LeBron or Davis could be a huge hole for the Portland. LeBron will take every mismatched on his own makes Blazers pay every possession.
The Blazers didn’t really face a highly competitive game in the bubble except for Memphis Grizzlies. The game against Boston, Brooklyn, Dallas are close but neither team is playing hard, it’s a no bearing for them as they locked in the playoffs.
While the Lakers have a lot of guys to throw against Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They have Danny Green a proven winner with two titles on his belt. An above-average defender which a bonus for the Lakers if he shoots well. Ketavious Cadwell Pope a great defender with a size that can also create his own shot. Dion Waiters and Jr Smith that played a lot of playoffs games on their career. The last one could be Alex Caruso which also known for his defense. Add these two big for the Lakers who can bother Blazers wing while shutting down the paint. Dwight Howard can still jump high to get the ball on board while Javale McGee knows how to play his role.
The postseason is different from a shootout that we always witness. Every team will figure out the strength and weaknesses of each other. Portland revives Carmelo Anthony’s career but he’s not the prime Carmelo but more of a spot-up shooter. CJ McCollum had a back injury that he continues to play but in a physical battle which every second’s count, McCollum will likely feel the pain.
Every game will be a close one but the series will not reach at Game five in Lakers’ favor. Star power, experience, and depth are hard to overcome.