Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Key defensive set ups

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Defense will be key in the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers playoff series.

The Los Angeles Lakers finally found out who they were matching up and its the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum bring a plethora of issues that the Lake Show has to deal with.

High screen and roll is the name of the game when dealing with these two scoring demons and you cannot forget the shooters on the wing plus the intelligent big in Jusuf Nurkic.

The key to stopping this requires attention to detail as Dame has shown the ability to pull from anywhere on the court and with that creates a load of issues that can cause numerous advantages for the Blazers.

The Lakers have a couple of different options dealing with Dame and his ridiculous range in that they have to commit to trapping very high up the court once the screen is set and relay on trusting each other with making the right rotations which could inevitably lead to the role players having open shots.

If you would ask the Lakers they would probably prefer the role players take those shots instead of Dame or CJ, but the best outcome would be the Lakers moving as a unit with the rotations and not giving up easy threes.

In saying that, it will not be easy but another option would be blitzing the PNR before its even set and forcing whoever the roll man is into making quick decisions before they can dribble. That has actually worked against the Blazers in the past when dealing with their high octane offense.

This can backfire if Dame or CJ manages to split the blitz before it is effective leading to easy drop-offs to the bigs in the paint. Overall, these are the best tactics to try against such a high powered offense.

Defensively, it matters who the Los Angeles Lakers decide to put on Dame and CJ, the two key players who can make it tough on them are Caruso and KCP.

Both move their feet really well and are disciplined enough to not foul which matters with Dame who excels at getting to the line. Having Anthony Davis, arguably the DPOY, on the PNR helps a ton with his range on defense and being able to switch onto guards while being able to handle his own on an island.

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Each of the options is viable because of how great Anthony Davis is on defense but ultimately it will come down to communication and trust as this will require everybody in tune together.