There are a couple of sure-fire bets in the NBA right now, no matter what our Non-Gambler tells you. (1) Toronto’s front line will get cracked by a competent big man. (2) The Jazz will be absolutely terrifying at home and absolutely terrified on the road. (3) The Blazers will own the Lakers at the Rose Garden.
That storyline is lost in the shuffle, as the Ariza-Fernandez flagrant and subsequent shoving match is getting tons of mileage today. But before that happened – and maybe one reason that took place – was because the Blazers were doling out a White Castle 30-sack by the end of the third quarter.
So why is it that Portland has beaten L.A. the last seven times they’ve ventured up to the Pacific Northwest? This dates back to the Jail Blazers era when both teams were completely different, but there are a couple of constants through this stretch.
* First, Portland owns the boards in their building. They out-rebounded L.A. 46-38 last night, and they’ve consistently had the edge on the glass during this win streak. Last night, Joel Przybilla and LaMarcus Aldridge combined to pull down 31 rebounds, while Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol mustered 21. It’s been like that since Z-Bo wore a Portland uni.
* Recently, Travis Outlaw has been an animal against the Lakers. Last night, he went for 22 points, stinging the Lakers with a helping of mid-range J’s, three’s, and work at the stripe. When these two teams met in the Rose Garden last year, he tossed in 18 points on super-efficient 9-15 shooting.
* The Lakers cannot shoot three’s here. For whatever reason, they’re horrible from beyond the arc in Portland. Maybe it’s that the aesthetics are weird. Maybe Portland closes out on three-point shooters better in their own building. But in their last three meetings (dating back to the beginning of last season), L.A. is a combined 23-78 from deep – 29.4%.
* Lastly, and this is Phil Jackson‘s theory, the Lakers just don’t bring any energy when they go up against one of the most enthused crowds in the League.
“The reality is that they are up for this game, the town is up for the game, they point to these games and we don’t meet the energy,” Jackson said.
Source: LA Times