Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Magic Johnson most worried about the Trail Blazers as a possible first-round opponent

The Lakers may say it's too early to look ahead to the postseason. 

But Magic Johnson isn't in that camp. He can already tell which potential first-round opponent would give the Lakers the most trouble.

"The biggest challenge would be Portland because of the hate factor," Johnson said Sunday, walking in a corridor underneath Staples Center. "They don't like us and we don't like them. That would be a very physical and tough series, even though we would win and we're better overall. But they really know how to play us, they're well-coached and they're tenacious."

The Lakers have defeated the Trail Blazers three times this season, including a 25-point victory in early November. But Johnson cited the Lakers' two close wins against Portland -- a five-point overtime thriller at the Rose Garden in late February and a four-point win last Sunday -- as a reason why the Blazers would still prove challenging.
Portland has won nine of its last 11 games against the Lakers at home. It's too early to say whether the Lakers will draw that matchup. They entered Sunday's game against New Orleans with a one-game lead over Dallas for second place in the Western Conference, while the Trail Blazers were a half-game ahead of the Hornets for the sixth spot.
"They're big enough to play us tough," Johnson said of Portland. "There's other teams that I think would be a good series, but [Portland] would be the toughest series." 

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Magic Johnson on Feb. 18, 2011. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Comments () | Archives (22)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Portland has been a thorn in our side since the days of Adelman coaching Porter, Duckworth, Drexler, et al... They just won't go away!

Could it be? Will it finally happen?

Will Magic Johnson actually pick Kobe's Lakers to win the championship?

@DAN THE MAN… Thanks for the props. Is this really you, the original dan the man from the days of Smush and Kwame? Great insight on the Celtics trading defense for offense. You could attribute the need to trade defense for offense directly to Rajon Rondo’s inability to shoot the basketball. When he was on the floor against the Celtics with Perkins at center, the Celtics too often found themselves playing 3 on 5 on offense. As great a player as Rondo is, that shooting Achilles heel levels him out.
@BENJAMIN… Thank for writing and submitting Rick’s blog profile. I never had the pleasure of meeting Rick in person but I never doubted that we were really friends. It doesn’t matter when you touch somebody that it was actual or virtual if it was from the heart and despite the anonymity of a blog, the real person usually shines through. I’ve been sick and feeling lousy all weekend and needed a good cry so thanks for sharing Rick’s life with us. It’s a good reminder of what one person can do.
@DIANDRA… Thanks for picking up the ball for Larry. It’s a tradition that deserves to be maintained. After all, it’s part of why we are the back-to-back NBA champions. I also want to compliment you on the passion and quality of your posts. I’m amazed when a young woman has the knowledge, insight, and confidence to jump into a conversation about sports. Ouch. That was Mrs. LakerTom kicking me in the shin for being sexist. At any rate, good to see the love of purple and gold is in good hands.

Great D for most of the game. Lock down in last 2 minutes.

I always wondered what ever happened to Erin Gray after Buck Rogers in the 21st Century was cancelled. Man has she ever let herself go. Put on the weight. Sex change. She didn't do too bad in the post for the Hornets. LOL

Drew seemed to be under the microscope with this officiating crew. At least 2 (the blocked shot over the top call and the offensive foul) were blatantly wrong. But the Beast made up for his lack of minutes. Played on with 5 fouls and anchored the scoring while the bench was in early on in the 4th.

Phoenix is giving Dallas a fight right now. Spurs lose and have 2 face Portland again. Could be a dynamic regular season finale when the Spurs come to town...




Glad you enjoyed get to know who Rick was a bit better.


I guess I'm not the only one thinking out how nicely Colonel Dearing fit into that sweet 25th century outfit every time I hear the name Aaron Gray. I think that woman/outfit is second only to the Princess Leia slave girl outfit as a test of heterosexuality.

1. Bulls
2. Nougats
3. Lakers

You've Got to Be Kidding Me! Bulls can be in the conversation, but the Nougats?



Benjamin, thanks for sharing all those great moments with Rick Friedman. It was nice from MM to post it, and your words were full of joy. I enjoyed reading that.

X + 0 = 17

Another one bites the dust.Great defensive game again keeping another under 90pts.I still would like to see the bench start to stept up and help out with some of the scoring load; and do a better job holding leads when they come in.All in all i'm happy for the win.Thats why we have the entire reg season to use as a training camp for the post season.The good news is there still room for improvement great as they've been playing.

Go Lakers!

Kobe played like a jackass - just jacking up too many shots. If this were to be the case in the playoffs, Portland will beat the Lakers.

Phil should sit Kobe down whenever Kobe takes a bad shot, which is too often and too many times. It makes my eyes bleed watching the guy jack up shots like this, disrupting the the triangle and the rhythm.

Nice post Benjamin on Rick F. You have a photographic memory of what occurred at the memorial, it was moving experience for those of us who represented the blog.

Kobe is getting back to his former self dissing, shooting w/ accuracy except on f/t's, tho' 2nd unit is not fully stable yet. Barnes and Blake are ok, Shannon is a wanderlust w/ his flying act, Bynum is great in the post but needs a little more speed from transition either offense or defense other than that he is great C. Luke is still lagging behind with his set shots and defense. I hope PJ should try Ebanks for a change. I heard he is already doing light practices. All in all, we are OK in the West. I think of two teams that Lakers should full scout namely: Thunder and Nuggets. The other teams are trending down in the 2nd half of the season.

Great post pare ko...Good point about Denver...they have quietly, under the radar, become a force...

The Melo trade did wonders for that team...

Lew, our unfriendly poster here used the handle of LKfan yet he's cheering Sheik-cago, why not be forthright honest call a spade a spade that he is a bulls fan also in his handle. Well, that's what happens to lakers popularity, other fans want to show up herein order to get more attention.

Those pathetic excuses for fans of other teams just show what has always been said in this blog: THEY HATE US CAUSE THEY AIN'T US! I love the vile they spit, it just adds a shine to my colorful commentary to the haters as I celebrate another ship :). I respect the bulls, would be a great series in the finals if both the Lake Show and Da Bulls meet up, but Lakers would come out on top in the end, the bulls are just too young...

Don't forget, the Trailblazers also went out and got Gerald Wallace from the Bobcats. Wallace is the ultimate Laker killer. He, along with Marcus Camby and Batum provide all sorts of match up problems for the Lakers as well as neutralize the Lakers size advantage.


I think Portland is a possibility since Dallas have the easiest schdules remaining , they might finish 2nd in the west .

I truly question Magic's loyalty to the Lakers. He has not been a Kobe supporter in my view over the past 5 years. Every year he predicts their dimise in the Playoff with some slick sounding ala Magic rhetoric and then has to eat his words. As a basketball personality and a player Magic is one of the best ever. However, Kobe is the greatest Laker of all time! D Rose is the MVP this year. Phil Jackson has done one of his greatest coaching jobs. And the Lakers should not be wary of any team in the playoffs so long as they play as a team. Go Lakers!

I don't know why people are so upset over Magic's comments. He makes it very clear in the quote below he's just saying who would give the Lakers the biggest challenge, not that they would beat them.

"The biggest challenge would be Portland because of the hate factor," Johnson said Sunday, walking in a corridor underneath Staples Center. "They don't like us and we don't like them. That would be a very physical and tough series, even though we would win and we're better overall. But they really know how to play us, they're well-coached and they're tenacious."

go BLAZERS!!!!!!!

There are always those that run of the mouth and predict that their team will beat the Lakers. When you have a garbage mouth, then garbage will come out. What I found out is simple. Put up some serious money or go away. We all have heard that song and dance of my team is better then yours.

I once had to put up $75,000.00 on a series and won. I would never bet on a game since any given day, one team can beat the other. But in a series, the cream should rise to the top.

Again, when you hear, see (tv), or read some thing, always consider the source. With Magic, I don't believe this guy any more. I strongly believe he is jealous o Kobe and that he surpassed him as the greatest Laker ever. I believe it. He has picked against his team on a consistent basis and lost each time. Why do they keep posting what he has to say is way beyond me.



In Case You Missed It...


All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



About the Bloggers

Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:

In Case You Missed It...