NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, November 7th (All times eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (5-2) at Los Angeles Lakers (6-0), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers hope to remain perfect on the young season Sunday when they welcome the talented Portland Trail Blazers to Staples Center.
The Lakers won their sixth straight game on Friday when Pau Gasol scored 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Kobe Bryant added 23 points and six assists as Los Angeles held off Toronto, 108-103, in Hollywood.
Steve Blake supplied 14 points and Shannon Brown chipped in with 12 off the bench for the hosts, who are off to the 6-0 start for the second time in three seasons.
"It's good to play close games like this," said Blake after nailing four of his six three-point shots. "I got some good looks and it was just a matter of catch-and-shoot."
The Blazers, meanwhile, are atop the Northwest Division after also beating the Raptors in their last encounter, a 97-84 win in the Rose Garden on Saturday night.
Brandon Roy led a balanced scoring attack in that one with 26 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who improved to 5-2 on the year, one-half game clear of Denver in the Northwest.
Nicolas Batum contributed with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting in the win while Marcus Camby, who was questionable with migraine headaches, finished with eight points and a season-high 16 rebounds despite suffering further symptoms during the contest.
"We are in a situation where we need everyone to play big," Roy said. "Whether you are 100 percent or not, we need you. I am playing more minutes than I have ever played. Everybody needs a little help and that was what made Marcus' effort tonight so big."
Camby is also expected to play tonight, a big break for Portland, which is already thin in the frontcourt as both Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla recover from knee surgery. The team also lost center Fabricio Oberto, who abruptly retired earlier this week due to a cardiac condition that causes heart palpitations.
In an effort to cultivate some depth in the frontcourt Portland officially signed big man Sean Marks last night. The journeyman Marks, a New Zealand native, holds career NBA averages of 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.2 assists over 10 seasons with Toronto, Miami, San Antonio, Phoenix and New Orleans.
In other injury news for Portland, swingman Rudy Fernandez missed his second straight game against Toronto with a back injury and is questionable for tonight.
The Blazers have won four of their past five games with the Lakers and are 7-2 against the two-time defending champs with Roy in the lineup.
11/07 10:35:19 ET