No talk this time about a dumb outdated name that was originated in the 2018 playoffs because he isn’t playing. I’ll leave it up to you guys to figure out that massive clue.
The Lakers are Toronto’s final stop on this five game road trip (1-3 so far), with a weekend of rest and hopefully a non controversial rematch with Denver coming up at Scotiabank on Tuesday. The Raptors have beaten the Lakers seven straight times on their home floor. Both teams are ninth in their conference, but L.A’s recent surge has put them in a much better position to escape the play-in, something the Raptors were looking to achieve.
Raptors scope (32-35, 9th in East | Offensive rating: 15th | Defensive rating: 17th)
Sounds basic enough, but shots have to be made and I’m not talking about threes this time. Toronto went 13-32 from deep (40.6 percent) against the Clippers on Wednesday. What killed them was 24-64 on two point shots. The spacing has been questionable with Scottie Barnes at the two and Jakob Poeltl being a non shooting threat. Poeltl has opened up some new wrinkles for the offence as both a playmaker finding cutters or a roller, but the Raptors offensive rating has actually dipped since the trade. They were mysteriously flirting with the Top 10 all season despite mind numbing droughts seemingly on a game to game basis.
The bench (minus Chris Boucher) shot 2-15 against the Clippers. Gary Trent Jr. had a rough game going 2-11. Precious Achiuwa seems lost and is averaging 10 less minutes this month (25 to 15) largely because of the trade. This segment isn’t Jak slander, he’s been great! Just some numbers.
Lakers scope (32-34, 9th in West | Offensive rating: 24th | Defensive rating: 13th)
L.A. is 7-3 in their last 10 games despite being shorthanded and are only 1.5 back of the sixth seeded Warriors. The Lakers are also only one game ahead of 13th seed, where they have resided most of the season. That’s how crazy things are in the West. 2.5 games separate spots 5-13.
Anthony Davis is back to putting up classic Brow numbers in the four games since LeBron James’ injury. He’s averaging 33.8 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 2.8 apg and 2.8 bpg. Davis is also making a three per game at a 40 percent clip. The Lakers have better shooters in general after a flurry of trade deadline activity brought better fitting pieces such as D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley.
Tip-Off: 10:30pm EST | TV: TSN 1/4, NBA TV | Radio: Sportsnet 590
Fred VanVleet was fined $30K for his epic Ben Taylor rant but not suspended! Will Barton (non COVID illness) is probable. Christian Koloko, Joe Wieskamp, Dalano Banton, Jeff Dowtin Jr. and Ron Harper Jr. are with the 905. Otto Porter Jr. is done for the season.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby, Will Barton
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) and D’Angelo Russell (right ankle sprain) are probable. Russell had missed the last six games. Mo Bamba (left ankle sprain) and LeBron James (right foot soreness) are out for weeks. Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider are with the G-League.
PG: D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder
SG: Malik Beasley, Lonnie Walker IV, Max Christie, Davon Reed
SF: Troy Brown Jr, Austin Reaves
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimiura, Wenyen Gabriel
C: Anthony Davis
The Raptors are favoured by 1.5 points. Over/Under is 224.5.