Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors Preview
The marquee matchup of NBA restart games today has to be the inter-conference matchup of the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors. The Lakers have a 6.5-point lead for first place in the Western Conference and are obviously a lock for the playoffs with their 50-14 record.
The Raptors are also a lock, with a 46-18 record. Their chances of catching the Milwaukee Bucks for first place are slim to none as they are seven games out of first place, but the Raptors have been a nice surprise in the East this season as they still seem like solid contenders even after losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
The last matchup between the Lakers and Raptors was way back in November, with Pascal Siakam leading the Raptors to a 113-104 win with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while LeBron James paced the Lakers with a triple-double and Anthony Davis led all scorers with 27 points.
Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: The Arena (WWOS), Orlando, FL
Lakers: Avery Bradley (O), Rajon Rondo (DTD)
Raptors: Dewan Hernandez (O), Patrick McCaw (DTD), Oshae Brissett (DTD)
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers will have to get ready for another tough matchup tonight as they take on the Toronto Raptors just two days after they had their NBA restart-opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers won the latest Battle of Los Angeles 103-101, but they struggled offensively, but James played hero once again, knocking down a late shot to secure the win.
“I love having the ball in my hands late in the game, tie game, being down, being up,” said James after the game. “We had a three-point (lead) with like 40 seconds to go. We got a great look for Danny (Green). He missed it. Paul George came back and hit a 3 to tie the game. For me, it was to be aggressive. I was able to follow my own shot and put us up for good.”
While the offense could take some time to come, especially after adding JR Smith and Markieff Morris into the fold, they’ll have to battle those lulls with solid defense. The second and third quarters seemed especially problematic for the Lakers against the Clippers, but not allowing the Clippers to go on long runs kept them in the game and allowed them to make up the difference, especially bc of the cushion they created in the first quarter.
While James struggled, Anthony Davis looked solid with 34 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Kuzma, who seems to be getting more minutes in the second unit, finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
Tonight’s game will be the Raptors’ first game of the restart after going 2-1 in scrimmages. After losing in their last scrimmage 117-106 to the Phoenix Suns in a game where Nick Nurse chose to play a deeper rotation and limit the minutes of his starters, the Raptors will likely now be laser-focused now that the games count.
“I think we have a group of professionals that go out there and know their jobs and understand their roles and I think that’s one thing I will say is we have is true professionals, guys who want to win and guys who want to continue to chase what we want to try to get to again and that’s holding the trophy at the end of this season,” guard Kyle Lowry said after practice Friday. “For us, it’s about just being us and continuing to try to grow in these eight games and then pushing forward to the next three months of the playoffs.”
Against the Suns, they had six players reach double figures. Pascal Siakam led the pack with 17 points in 25 minutes. Norman Powell, who has been important off the bench and sometimes as a starter for the Raptors, led bench scoring with 14 points. Fred VanVleet had 13, but struggled from deep, knocking down just one of his six three-point attempts. OG Anunoby had 10 points, and while starters Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka didn’t do much in the scoring column, they had nine rebounds apiece and Gasol added two blocked shots.
The Lakers will present a considerably greater challenge, but the matchups should be very interesting with Siakam possibly defending James and the other bigs switching off on Davis. Both teams are capable on both sides of the floor, but the Raptors hope their defense will get them a win in their first game back.
Lakers vs Raptors Fantasy Basketball Angle
Anthony Davis and LeBron James have the highest projections for today’s games, but I’d go with Davis here, who has a 48.2 point projection on FanDuel for $10k salary. Fellow big man Pascal Siakam of the Raptors isn’t far down the list with a projection of 40.5 points, which is great value for his $7.8k projection. Fred VanVleet has also been a nice surprise in fantasy lineups this year and he should provide some nice value as well.
Lakers vs. Raptors Betting Odds
Lakers Odds: -176
Raptors Odds: +145
The Lakers are four-point favorites to pick up the win and keep their healthy lead atop Western Conference standings. The Raptors have had more success against the spread against Western Conference opponents at 13-10-1.
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