Apr 9, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Hornets center Robin Lopez (15) defends Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) during the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won 104-96. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 3: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers

Apr 9, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers power shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the second half against the New Orleans Hornets at the Staples Center. Lakers won 104-96. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off their victory over the Hornets, the Lakers are now firmly in control of their own playoff destiny as they enter Rip City Wednesday night.

The Blazers are currently housing their longest losing streak in seven seasons at eight straight. However, the Lakers are currently 2-8 on the tail end of back-to-back nights this season and notoriously struggle in the Rose Garden.

It’s safe to say a number of elements will be in play for this one – whether they work for or against the Lakers, well that’s anyone’s guess.

With that, let’s take a quick glance at the three of the biggest things things you should watch for.

1. Fatigue

Kobe Bryant is averaging a staggering 44.5 minutes per contest in the month of April. Which for a guy in his 17th season with the leagues third highest usage rating is absurd.

So after a taxing game against the Hornets, we could – and probably will – see that fatigue become a noticeable factor down the stretch.

2. D’Antoni dream match up

In the Blazers current eight game losing streak, Portland has lost every game their opponent broke 100 points – which account for six of those eight losses.

For a coach who places such an extreme emphasis on offense, those stats should prove welcoming.

3. Attack the paint

Portland is currently allowing the leagues highest field goal percentage from 3-9 feet (46.1 percent). With likes of Howard and Gasol down low, there’s absolutely no reason to settle for anything less than consistent high percentage shots.

So, who or what do you think will be the biggest key to the game?

Sound off in the comments and let us know.

You can catch the game live at 10 PM ET on NBA league pass or on any of the various networks listed here.

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