Photo Credit: @Raptors on Twitter
After a close 106-102 road loss to the Utah Jazz last night, the Toronto Raptors will make the short trip to Los Angeles to play the Lakers tonight.
The 26-38 Raptors are three spots out of a play-in berth, sitting tied at 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers are much more comfortable for the time being at 36-27, earning their sixth place position in the Western Conference.
While L.A.’s record is more impressive, both the Raptors and the Lakers have lost four of their past five games and each are hoping to rekindle their fire tonight.
Toronto has played L.A. one time this season when the Lakers visited the Raptors on April 6th. L.A. won 110-101 in a game where OG Anunoby and Montrezl Harrell were both ejected due to a first quarter altercation.
Despite just returning from a 20-game absence following an ankle injury, LeBron James was able to put up 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the Lakers’ loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. If he plays again tonight, Toronto will still need to take him seriously in their gameplan.
The Raptors also have to key on Anthony Davis — assuming he’s available tonight — and Andre Drummond. Davis is second to James in scoring with 21.6 points per game while Andre Drummond leads the Lakers with 10.2 rebounds per game.
A Toronto win tonight will come on the back of strong rebounding on the offensive end and getting James uncomfortable in his ankles.
When L.A loses, they have 4.8 less defensive rebounds per game (32) than they do in victories (36.8).
It may sound bad to say and could be inconsistent with the Raptors’ code of ethics, but Toronto may want to institute some “Jordan Rules” to keep James grounded tonight if they’re committed to the play-in.
Paul Watson Jr. (knee) did not make the trip to Utah last night and will miss the next four games, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Gary Trent Jr. (lower leg) and Kyle Lowry (rest) were ruled out last night as well with no clear indication on their status for tonight.
L.A.’s Jared Dudley (knee) is ruled out. James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, Dennis Schroeder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso are all listed as day-to-day and have not been confirmed as active in tonight’s contest.
Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. EST.