Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
Coming into the NBA playoffs this season the Portland Trail Blazers will have a their work cut out for them as if the seeding in the Western Conference remains the same at the end of the regular season, Brandon Roy and company will go up against the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Usually any team that faces the NBA champs in the first round of playoffs will be hoping to win at least one game, but the Blazers will come into this playoff series with hope of pulling off the upset as they have had more success against the Los Angeles Lakers than any other team on their home floor in Portland.
It wasn’t until this season, the first game that Kobe Bryant missed with an ankle injury in early February, that the defending champs were able to get the best of the Blazers at the Rose Garden. This wasn’t the first time that the Lakers have beaten the Blazers on their home floor, but it was the first time in five years.
Being able to beat a team as dominant as the Lakers over a five year span is impressive to say the least and that will be the one thing both teams will be thinking about if they do end up facing off against each other in the postseason.
The defending NBA Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the best team in the NBA right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers would have something to say about that, but it would be hard to argue that the Lakers couldn’t beat LeBron James and company in a seven-game series.
Obviously that’s getting a little bit ahead of ourselves as that matchup could only have been in the NBA finals now, but the defending champs will have their sights set on Brandon Roy and company heading into the playoffs as it looks almost inevitable the two will meet in the first round.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the last team the Los Angeles Lakers want to see in the playoffs as their history is enough to make Kobe Bryant and his squad want to stay away from the Rose Garden for good.
Despite the Lakers not wanting to face the Blazers in the first round, if the Houston Rockets can’t find away to snag the eighth spot from Portland, Los Angeles will have their work cut out for them in the first round.
Even though Los Angeles Lakers success at the Rose Garden is less than impressive, I believe regardless of who they face throughout the entire playoffs, including the NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant and company are on their way to the second consecutive NBA title as the likelihood of any team being able to end their repeat hopes is not looking good.
The one team in the Western Conference but I do believe can give the defending champs a run for their money in the postseason is the Denver Nuggets as they seem like the only team in the West that can play a physical game with the Lakers.
It is that physicality that seems to get Los Angeles another game plan and it been pretty successful over the past couple of seasons. It all remains to be seen though still have a few more weeks left in the NBA regular season and anything can happen.