The 2-12 can be thankful the 76ers are around or L.A. would be clearly the NBA's worst team. It brings a four-game losing skid into Portland on Saturday (10 ET). The Blazers are -8 on BetOnline's NBA odds with a total of 203.
Kobe Needs To Retire
There's no question that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the Top 10 players in league history, but he really needs to retire like right now as Bryant is embarrassing himself like Willie Mays did with the New York Mets.
In Tuesday's ugly 111-77 loss to the Warriors, Bryant tied the worst shooting performance of his career in any game in which he attempted at least five shots. He was 1-of-14 from the field, including 1-of-7 from 3-point range. He scored four points in nearly 25 minutes. He's the first player in the league this season with four points or fewer while taking at least 14 shots.
"I could've scored 80," a typically defiant Kobe said afterward. "It wouldn't have made a damn difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We'd be what, 3-11?"
Kobe is averaging only 15.2 points yet taking a team-high 16.4 field goal attempts per game. His .311 field-goal percentage is the lowest figure of his career and last in the NBA among qualified players. He is 15-for-77 from 3-point range, which is just .195 percent, by far the worst in the league and on pace to be historically bad. Bryant has played 12 consecutive games scoring fewer than 25 points while shooting worse than 50 percent, the longest streak of his career.
Yet Kobe is second on the team in minutes per game at 30.5, behind only second-year guard Jordan Clarkson. Coach Byron Scott hasn't considered reducing Kobe's minutes yet, which is absurd. It's time to give more minutes to rookie No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell, who is averaging 26.3 a night and scoring 10.2 points. This is simply a very bad team -- the Lakers' point differential of minus-9.1 is ahead of only Philadelphia's -- and is going to be so for a while barring Kevin Durant heading to L.A. as a free agent this summer.
Blazers Stuck In Middle
The problem for Portland (6-10) is that it's not bad enough to likely get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft (barring a lucky lottery win) but not near good enough to make the playoffs. The Blazers have a backcourt to build around in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum but not much else. Lillard is averaging 25.1 points and 7.2 assists per game, which rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the NBA. He and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook are the only players who rank among the Top 10 in both categories.
Portland is off a 93-88 home loss to Chicago on Tuesday, ending the team's two-game winning streak. Lillard made just 4-for-22 from the field but did have 10 rebounds and eight assists. McCollum added 18 points. Center Mason Plumlee had his third consecutive double-double with 11 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. The Trail Blazers, who matched their season-high of 55 rebounds against Chicago, are 5-3 when outrebounding the opposition and 1-7 when being outrebounded.
Blazers starting forward/center Meyers Leonard has missed the past seven games due to a separated left shoulder and isn't likely to play Saturday. He averages 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds. Portland is 8-8 ATS on NBA picks this season and 8-8 O/U.
Last Sunday at Staples Center, the Trail Blazers were 2.5-point favorites at sportsbooks (total of 204.5) and won 107-93. Lillard had 30 points and a career-high 13 assists and McCollum 19 points. Plumlee added 17 points and 11 boards. The Blazers swept the Lakers four games last year, so this marks Portland's first five-game winning streak in the series since it won eight in a row from 1993-95. The teams only play three times this season so Portland can clinch the season series for the second year in a row for the first time since 1994-95. The Blazers have defeated the Lakers by double-digits in each of the past four games. Lillard has scored at least 30 points in four of his last six games against Los Angeles. Kobe was 6-for-22 (0-for-5 from 3-point range) for 18 points in last Sunday's loss. Julius Randle had 13 points and 13 rebounds. L.A. shot only 36.4 percent.
NBA Picks: Blazers and 'under' at BetOnline. The Lakers are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games. Portland is 5-1 ATS in its past six at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The 'under' is 5-0 in the past five.