Lakers vs. Trail Blazers: How the teams match up for Game 1 tonight

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Tania Ganguli
·2 min read
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LeBron James defends against Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum in the first quarter.
Lakers forward LeBron James defends against Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, half of Portland's dynamic backcourt. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A look at how the top-seeded Lakers and No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers match up for their first-round playoff series:

STARTERS

LAKERS | TRAIL BLAZERS

Player, Ht. | Pos. | Ht., Player

LeBron James, 6-9 | F | 6-8, Carmelo Anthony

Anthony Davis, 6-10 |F | 6-11, Zach Collins

JaVale McGee, 7-0 | C | 7-0, Jusuf Nurkic

Danny Green, 6-6 | G | 6-3, CJ McCollum

K. Caldwell-Pope, 6-5 | G | 6-2, Damian Lillard

James and Davis will pose matchup problems for Portland, especially with Collins missing at least Game 1 because of an ankle injury. The Lakers begin the series without veteran guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, who started 47 games between them, which will make handling Portland’s guards difficult.

RESERVES

LAKERS | TRAIL BLAZERS

Player, Ht. | Pos. | Ht., Player

Alex Caruso, 6-5 | G | 6-5, Gary Trent Jr.

Dwight Howard, 6-10 | C | 7-0, Hassan Whiteside

Kyle Kuzma, 6-8 | F | 6-8, Mario Hezonja

Dion Waiters, 6-3 | G | 6-3, Anfernee Simons

Markieff Morris, 6-8 | F | 6-9, Wenyen Gabriel

Kuzma had a terrific run in the seeding game in the bubble, both with his scoring and his defense. Gabriel will start in place of Collins for the opener.

COACHES

The two coaches aren’t that familiar with each other’s styles or teams, as Frank Vogel spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference before becoming the Lakers coach this season while Terry Stotts is in his eighth season with the Trail Blazers. Vogel led the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference in his first season, and Stotts has guided the Trail Blazers to the playoffs in all but his first season with the team.

INTANGIBLES

The Lakers have more championship experience than Portland with six players who have won NBA titles on their roster, including James, who has won three. An intangible the Trail Blazers have is momentum — whereas the Lakers have won only three of eight games in the bubble, Portland has won seven of nine, including its last four.