According to Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal and Kevin Ding, the matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls has been dropped from TNT’s Martin Luther King Day lineup in favor of the Portland Trail Blazers’ matchup with the Houston Rockets. This comes as no surprise, since Lakers staple Kobe Bryant is sidelined with a fractured patella, and Bulls staple Derrick Rose is sidelined with a torn meniscus. Both teams are struggling to stay afloat in a season full of unexpected disappointment.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Trail Blazers and Rockets have thrived. No one projected Portland to be among the NBA’s top teams this year. That is why they were left out of the Christmas day games (along with the Indiana Pacers) when the season was scheduled last summer. However; their high level of play has been rewarded with their second broadcasting upgrade of the year. Last week, J. Michael of CSN announced that Trail Blazers vs. Pacers would air instead Wizards vs. Cavaliers, February 7th on ESPN.
Last time the Trail Blazers and Rockets squared off, LaMarcus Aldridge had one of the best games of his career, notching 31 points and 25 rebounds, while Dwight Howard exploded for 32 and 17. That is the sort of game that should be nationally televised. While TNT hopes for a repeat spectacular, we can rest knowing that the Portland Trail Blazers are set to receive some well-deserved attention. How many Blazer games will be nationally televised by season’s end?