At this point in the disappointing Los Angeles Lakers season, every game is crucial. However, tonight’s game at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers is as big as it gets. First off, the Lakers will head into an arena that has given them an immense amount of trouble for a very long time — the Lakers are just 4-17 in Portland since 2002. Additionally, the Trail Blazers have lost eight straight games. While that may be a good sign to others, it is a bad one to me.
Having lost their last eight games, and not playing for a playoff spot, this game has turned into the Trail Blazers regular season championship. If they win, they will have a victory that every team and their respective fan base wants — a severe blow to the Lakers playoff chances.
And finally, the last important piece of evidence that indicates this is the Lakers biggest game of the season is that this is their last road game and the second game of a back to back. The Lakers have been terrible on the road this season and absolutely awful on back-to-backs, having not swept a back-to-back in 15 attempts.
The Lakers will need a complete team effort, including consistent play from the ever inconsistent Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. If the Lakers manage to win this game, by some miracle, then it should propel them to the eight seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers last three games are all at home, albeit against some good competition, the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. But the Lakers have proven that they can beat each of those teams, and in a do or die situation they should be able to eke out a win.
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