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Although the Los Angeles Lakers are looking great right now with Andrew Bynum back in the lineup, the number one seed in the Western Conference wrapped up and the possibility of ending the season with league’s best record they still have to solve their problem beating the Portland Trailblazers in at the Rose Garden. 

With Andrew Bynum finally back on floor the Lakers defense will be that much better, but much like the Blazers center Greg Oden he will not be 100% for awhile possibly not even for the rest of the season.  

There is no team that gives the Lakers more trouble away from the Staples Center in the West than the Blazers. For some reason the Lakers just don’t play well up in Portland. They haven’t played well up there even going back to the Shaq and Kobe era in the LA.  

The Lakers have already lost one Game in Portland this season on March 9th in the controversial Game in which the Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez was taken off the floor on a stretcher after a hard foul by the Lakers Trevor Ariza. The replay of the controversial foul didn’t look as bad as the result, but the Blazers didn’t see it that way as it almost resulted in a bench clearing brawl.  

There is obviously no love lost between these two teams coming into this Game. Both teams have something to prove. The Lakers want to have the best record in the league coming into the playoffs and prove they can beat the Blazers at the Rose Garden in case the two teams meet in the playoffs. 

The Blazers on the other hand probably will not catch up to the Northwest division leading Denver Nuggets, but every Game from here on out is important in terms of who they will end up playing in the first round of the playoffs.  

With the number one seed in the West set for the Los Angeles Lakers they will be matched up with the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. As of right now there are three teams deadlocked in the West with the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers fate in the playoffs still uncertain. 

So with the Blazers playoff position being as uncertain as it is they will be trying to win their final Four Games to sure up a high seed and gain momentum going into the playoffs. A win over the Lakers would be huge for the Blazers confidence and their chances to finish the regular season on a high note especially if they meet up with Kobe Bryant and company somewhere down the road.  

Although the Lakers are by far the better team of the two I believe the Blazers will win another one against Phil Jackson’s boys on Friday. The Lakers misfortune in Portland will continue on Friday unless Kobe Bryant has another classic performance, but I don’t see that happening as the Zen Master will probably try to rest the reigning MVP to save his energy for the playoffs.



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