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Trail Blazers invade Tinseltown for road tilt with Lakers

  1. Written by: KevinHudson

    The Portland Trail Blazers reach the halfway point of their 2011-12 season Monday, 7:30 p.m. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as their clash with the Lakers marks the 33rd of 66 games on this season's condensed schedule.

    The game can be seen locally and nationally on TNT. 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.

    The back-to-back games that Portland finishes its pre-All-Star break schedule with should be a decent indicator of how the team has melded to this point in the season by virtue of the competition, with the road game at Los Angeles followed by a home tilt with San Antonio - the hottest team in the league, having won its last 10 games.

    In the last meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers, Jan. 5, Portland (17-15) celebrated a 107-96 victory at the Rose Garden, bringing the team's early record to 5-1. Highlights from that contest can help illuminate some of the inconsistencies that have hampered the Trail Blazers, who have gone 10-13 since starting the season 7-2.

    In that game, Portland forward Gerald Wallace posted a season-high 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Wallace has continued his accurate shooting at the Rose Garden, where he has hit 55.9 percent (109-of-195) of his shots this season, but has struggled mightily on the road, where he has converted his attempts at a 38.5 percent (50-of-130) clip while the team's road record has slipped to 5-10. 

    Raymond Felton had perhaps his most efficient outing of the season in the Jan. 5 victory over Los Angeles, when he dropped 10 dimes against a single turnover. Felton has averaged 6.4 assists-per-game this season while turning the ball over 2.9 times each contest.

    In converse relation to Wallace's road woes, Felton has performed slightly better away from home this season, where his shooting percentage goes from 35 percent to near 38 percent and his assists rise form six per game to nearly seven.

    Los Angeles (18-13) brings a 13-2 home record to the contest, good for second-best in the league behind San Antonio, who is 13-1 on its home floor.

    The Lakers will be completing their own road-to-home back-to-back Monday night against the Trail Blazers, after having lost 102-90 at Phoenix Sunday. Kobe Bryant coughed up 10 turnovers in the loss while scoring a game-high 32 points.

    The Lakers frontcourt duo of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum each tallied a double-double in the loss, with Gasol notching 17 points and 12 rebounds to go with six assist while Bynum scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while blocking four shots.

    Series notes -

    • The Lakers took three of four meetings last year with Portland, winning their fi rst season series over the Trail Blazers since 2004-05 (2-1). It marked the first time the Lakers had won a series of at least four games against the Trail Blazers since 1992-93 (3-2).

    • The Trail Blazers have won 11 of the last 13 matchups with the Lakers at the Rose Garden, while Los Angeles has taken seven of the last eight contests at STAPLES Center.

    • LaMarcus Aldridge averaged a team-best 19.8 points per game in four contests with Los Angeles in 2010-11, and Nicolas Batum added 19.3 points in four games. In three games against the Lakers last season (one game as a member of the Bobcats), Gerald Wallace averaged 16.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

    • The Trail Blazers shot 27-for-90 from distance (30.0%) while the Lakers hit 33-of-77 (42.9%) attempts from long range in four matchups last season.

    • Kobe Bryant led all players in the series against the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 23.8 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting from the field. Bryant set the all-time scoring high for a Portland opponent with 65 points in an overtime game on March 16, 2007.

    • Pau Gasol averaged 15.0 points and a series-best 13.5 rebounds to go with 5.0 assists in four games against Portland last season.

    • Los Angeles outrebounded Portland, 175-149, and gained a 186-144 advantage in points in the paint in last season’s four-game series.

    • The Lakers committed 88 fouls in four games last season, sending Portland to the line for 91 free throw attempts. The Trail Blazers were whistled for 59 penalties, giving Los Angeles 56 tries from the foul line. Portland gained 25 points from the foul line in the four meetings.

    • Los Angeles forward Luke Walton’s father, Bill Walton, helped lead the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA Championship.

    • Wesley Matthews’ father, Wes Matthews, played for the Lakers from 1986-88 and helped Los Angeles capture two NBA titles.

    • Lakers radio broadcaster Mychal Thompson played seven seasons for the Trail Blazers from 1978-86, averaging 16.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.39 blocks in 551 games.

    • Lakers guard Steve Blake played 201 games for Portland from 2007-10 averaging 9.1 points and 4.8 assists before being traded along with Travis Outlaw to the Clippers for Marcus Camby.

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