3 lineups that could make-or-break the Portland Trail Blazers’ trip to Orlando

Portland Trail Blazers - Zach Collins (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers - Zach Collins (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

No. 2: The 2020 version of the Twin Towers?

When the idea of the Portland Trail Blazers meeting the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round came to mind, the preeminent thought was wondering how the Blazers would be able to combat the Lake Show’s deep front line.

We probably can’t count on one hand the amount of people on this planet that can stop Anthony Davis in a 1-on-1 situation. But perhaps the even better question: do the Trail Blazers have one of those five?

The 2018 First Round would’ve been a cause for optimism. But as much as we’ve tried to forget, the Pelicans ran Davis at center, and rendered Jusuf Nurkic incompatible, taking him out of the paint, and granting him the unenviable task of chasing Davis around on the perimeter.

Per NBA.com’s matchup tracker, these were the results:

Davis when defended by Zach Collins, 2018 Playoffs
— 2:24 minutes 2-of-3, 0-of-0 3P, 5-of-6 FT

Davis when defended by Jusuf Nurkic, 2018 Playoffs
— 19:19 minutes, 22-of-34 FG, 2-of-5 3P, 3-of-5 FT

And, I’d like to think that since being paired with LeBron James, Davis has been activated to Super Saiyan. And, as they say on infomercials: But wait, there’s more!

One can’t help but wonder how the Blazers plan to attack those unconventional, rare two-big lineups. The Lakers have paired Davis with JaVale McGee for 765 minutes, and Davis and Dwight Howard for an additional 399 minutes. In caveman terms, that means Davis has been attributed an extra big for 78.1 percent of his on-floor time.

How the Portland Trail Blazers plan to attack that could be a make-or-break development. Do they trust Collins’ and his length to offset Howard and McGee, despite giving up 35-to-40 pounds?

Or do they go full 1995, and shell out Nurkic and Whiteside together in hopes that he’s improved on his outside touch? (Last year, he went 42.1 percent on his 107 midrange shots).

The Lakers-Blazers series we’re so helplessly rooting for could look a lot like those Hardwood Classic ones. For Portland’s sake, let’s hope the ball rolls their way this go round.