Game Preview: Raptors @ Lakers
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
The Toronto Raptors will kick off 2017 in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers. The Raptors are looking to get back on track after dropping their previous two games to the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
Tip-off: 9:30 P.M. ET
Broadcast Info: TSN2 / TSN1050
Patterson questionable for Sunday
Patrick Patterson played just nine minutes in Toronto’s 99-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns. After leaving the game in the second quarter he headed back to the locker room and shortly afterward the team announced that he would not be returning because of a strained left knee.
The team was given Friday off following their Wednesday/Thursday back-to-back. Patterson did not practice with the team on Saturday in Los Angeles, but Dwane Casey updated media on his availability.
“We’re not sure,” Casey said. “He’s going to be day-to-day, questionable. It’ll be how he feels, the pain he can go through, not sure how serious it is, don’t think it’s real serious, but it’s something that’s been bothering him and we want to err on the side of caution and making sure he’s ready to go and not have to fight through it.”
The team missed Patterson in Phoenix, especially as the coaching staff worked to figure out various lineups in his absence. If Patterson is unable to suit up on Sunday, it will mean an opportunity for someone else to step up.
“[Patrick’s] a tough kid,” Casey said. “He’s important to our team, but it’s also an unfortunate opportunity for someone else and that’s what I truly believe in, more minutes for Pascal [Siakam], more minutes for DC [DeMarre Carroll] at the four, different people more at the four position and that’s what we worked on today. “
Raptors ready to get back in winning column
After a tough back-to-back resulting in a pair of losses against the Warriors and Suns, the Raptors are eager to return to the winning column. They also wouldn’t mind a repeat of the previous meeting between the two teams.
Los Angeles was in Toronto on Dec 2, where the Raptors collected a dominating 113-80 victory against the Lakers. Led by 24 points from Kyle Lowry, five Raptors players scored in double figures as Toronto used a 41-point second quarter to blow the game open before halftime. L.A. was without Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell in the loss.
Toronto is now 2-2 on this six-game road trip and Dwane Casey hopes one day off and then another to prepare in Los Angeles will help his team mentally reset as well as get some much needed rest.
The other night, I thought the schedule finally caught us a little bit,” Casey said. “We were playing in mud [against Phoenix], we were trying to grind it out, find something to get us going because really I think the schedule, which is no excuse because everyone in the NBA is going through it, but finding something to get us over the hump at the end of the game.”
Saturday’s practice in L.A. was a good one, with everyone ready to leave the previous two losses behind.
“Today was a spirited practice,” Casey said. “Guys got after it, we had far more energy today in practice than we did at any point in the game the other night.”
Powell, Siakam ready if called upon
As the team waits to see if Patterson will be available for Sunday’s game, sophomore Norman Powell and rookie Pascal Siakam have been preparing. In the event that Patterson does not suit up against the Lakers, either of the two could be called upon to play a bigger role. This is nothing new for Powell, who has worn many different hats for the team this season.
“Whatever they want to give me on the court, whatever playing time they give me, I will do,” Powell said. “I‘m a very versatile player so that allows us to go to different lineups and different match ups depending on the matchup. But whatever they need me to do I’m going to do it. I’ve said that from the beginning. I’m going to go in there and compete and not back down.”
Siakam has started every game this season with Jared Sullinger recovering from foot surgery. Although he’s learning as he goes, he’s managed to focus on the game at hand rather than become overwhelmed by the bigger picture.
“I think I have done a decent job and just keep trying to learn,” Siakam said. “That’s the main thing. All the rookies don’t have the opportunities I have had to learn while playing at the same time. Whatever minutes I get man, I am blessed to be here and whatever I get I just try to do my best.”
As the team waits to see Patterson’s status, Siakam is sticking to the script and staying in his usual routine.
“I have to stick with it,” Patterson said. “Just keep working hard and sometimes, when you feel you’re not really doing anything, things always come around. It’s unfortunate [for anyone to have injuries] but just keep the same mentality, keep playing hard, keep playing how I play and whatever minutes I get just go the floor and try and do my best.”