When the Lakers visit Portland to play the Trailblazers Friday night, the stakes are about as high as they can get for a regular season game. Playoff seeding is not only at stake, but the prospects of having to participate in the play-in game is also on the line, with the 7th seeded Blazers looking to leapfrog the Lakers and earn the tiebreaker all in one night. That last part is important because, a loss basically puts Portland 2-games up on the Lakers with only 5 left to play. Not insurmountable odds, but close to it.
As has been true of late, the circumstances do not favor the Lakers, either.