Oren Weisfeld and I discussed the game and what to look forward to on the Rap Up:
Fresh off of a loss to the Utah Jazz, just 24 hours later the Toronto Raptors visit the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Raptors are losers of three straight, while the Lakers are sixth in the western conference, losing seven of their last 10.Getting LeBron James and Anthony Davis back within the last week is huge for Los Angeles’ so that they can get into a good rhythm before the playoffs. Without these two the champs are seven and 10. Not a pretty number, but a number that’s friendly to the Raptors, depending on if you’re ready to throw in the towel or not. For the last few games, I’ve resisted doing just that but after Saturdays loss to Utah, it’s high unlikely that Toronto extends their streak of seven straight playoff appearances.
Here are seeds seven through 12, just because:
And here’s the remaining eight games for the Raptors:
Alright let’s get to it!
The Lakers are trying to close out the season with some momentum going into the playoffs and if they can take advantage of a Raptors team that’s reeling, it’ll help them. The matchup I’m looking forward to is OG Anunoby vs LeBron James. Without question, OG has had a breakout year and if the offense can get it going through him, it would be nice to see that process continue. LeBron has gone on record to say that he doesn’t believe he’ll ever be 100 per cent again so if that’s the case and he’s playing tonight, OG needs to tire him out.
Khem Birch has been marvellous to watch. Since coming to Toronto, he’s averaging 11 points and seven boards a game. His shooting is there and his footwork is a delight considering what Raptors fans were subjected to in the pre-Birch era. He’s already had multiple career-highs with the Raptors, causing a lot of people to scratch their heads and wonder what Orlando was thinking when they weren’t utilizing him. Depending on who the Lakers have available, it could be another career-night for Birch and if that’s the case, the Raptors will want to take advantage of it.
Tip-Off: 10:00pm EDT | TV: SN1 | Radio: Sportsnet Fan 590
Gary Trent Jr. (leg), Chris Boucher (knee), Paul Watson (knee), and Fred VanVleet (hip) are all out.
PG: Kyle Lowry, De’Andre Bembry
SG: Malachi Flynn, Jalen Harris
SF: OG Anunoby, Rodney Hood
PF: Pascal Siakam, Yuta Watanabe
C: Khem Birch, Freddie Gillespie, Aron Baynes
LeBron James (ankle) and Alex Caruso (back) are being listed as questionable. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle), Anthony Davis (calf), Kyle Kuzma (thumb), & Marc Gasol (finger) are being listed as probable. Dennis Schröder (health and safety protocols) and Jared Dudley (MCL) are out. Updates will come throughout the day. Odds are James and Caruso are both game-time decisions.
PG: Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ben McLemore
SF: LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker
PF: Anthony Davis, Markieff Morris, Montrezl Harrell
C: Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, Devontae Cook
Lakers are favoured to win at 7.5.
Over/Under is set at 219.5.