For the final time in the 2012-2013 NBA regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers will hit the road.
On Wednesday night, L.A. will visit the Portland Trail Blazers in the final meeting between the division rivals. Tip-off is set for 10:30 p.m. ET at the Rose Garden. Viewers can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
Los Angeles is fighting to claim the only available playoff spot that’s up for grabs in the league. They are battling with the Utah Jazz for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. A victory would give the Lakers a one-game edge, but a loss would put them out of the postseason, for the moment. Utah holds the tiebreaker because of the head-to-head matchups between the two teams.
Portland has very little to play for. At 7.5 games behind the Lakers, they have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Trail Blazers lack of motivation has shown in their record, losing eight straight games.
The Trail Blazers do have a few factors in their favor, though. They will be facing the Lakers in their second game in as many nights. As an older team, Los Angeles has had trouble in these situations. They are 2-8 in the second night of back-to-back games.
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L.A. will try to win in a place that they’ve struggled mightily. Even when the Lakers were led by Magic Johnson in the 1980’s, they had trouble winning in Portland. Los Angeles lost their only game in Portland this season, 116-106.
Steve Nash suffered a fractured leg in the team’s only visit to Portland. He will sit out this contest because of a different injury. A hamstring injury will force the point guard to miss his fifth straight game.
Even though the Lakers have struggle on the road, they’re expected to hand the Trail Blazers another loss. Most Las Vegas casinos have them favored by 6.5 points.
Prediction: Los Angeles 99, Portland 94