(Sports Network) - Themay be in line for a big boost tonight, when they welcome the two-time defending NBA champion to Rip City. Three-time All-Star swingman , who has been sidelined since Dec. 15 and undergone arthroscopic surgery on both knees, has been practicing and could be activated if he feels good at the team's shootaround early Wednesday.
Portland has done a nice job persevering without its star and is currently tied for the fifth spot in the Western Conference after entering the All-Star break with a 103-96 home win over New Orleans last Wednesday. LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 34 points and pulled down seven rebounds in that one.added 24 points and eight boards and tallied 18 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who have won six in a row overall for the first time since Nov. 6-14, 2009.
"It feels good to be apart of a team that's really clicking," Matthews said. "We're molding and we're building, and we're getting tougher and stronger and we're winning games." The Lakers, meanwhile, came out of the break strong, snapping a three-game skid with a 104-80 rout of Atlanta in LA on Tuesday. Fresh off winning his record-tying fourth All-Star game MVP award on Sunday,scored 20 points and dished out five assists to pace the Lakers.
added 15 points off the bench for LA while donated 14 points and 10 rebounds. "We played well and they didn't play that well," Gasol said. "We brought good effort and it paid off." Home cooking has meant a lot in this series recently with the host winning 11 of the last 13 meetings. Overall the Lakers have dropped 15 of their previous 18 trips to the Rose Garden.