Game Preview: Raptors vs Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers (31-36) @ Toronto Raptors (48-20)
When: Thursday, March 14th, 8 P.M. ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena
Leading into tonight’s game:
- Injury report: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet (left thumb ligament), Serge Ibaka (league suspension) is out. For the Lakers, Lonzo Ball (left ankle sprain) and Brandon Ingram (DVT, right arm) are out. Tyson Chandler (neck stiffness), Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis), Lance Stephenson (left foot, second toe sprain) are listed as questionable.
- Quick stop: The Raptors are back at Scotiabank Arena after a three-game road trip that closed with a disappointing 126-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. This is a quick trip home, though. After Thursday’s game, the team will head back on the road to face the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday, then return home once again to host the New York Knicks on Monday, in the final back-to-back of the regular season. Thursday will feature a double-header at Scotiabank Arena as Raptors 905 will host the Canton Charge at 12 P.M. ET.
- Recent history: This is the final meeting between the Lakers and Raptors this season. Toronto previously earned a 121-107 road win against the Lakers on Nov. 4. The Raptors were dominant from the jump in the previous meeting, leading by 31 points in the opening quarter and holding a 42-17 advantage after one. Serge Ibaka hit his first 14 shots of the game and finished 15-of-17 from the floor with 34 points, as six Raptors finished in double figures. Kyle Lowry also finished with 21 points and 15 assists and Pascal Siakam added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Toronto was without Kawhi Leonard in the game. The Lakers were led by Kyle Kuzma’s 24-point effort in the loss. The Lakers come to Toronto following a 123-107 victory against the Chicago Bulls that snapped a five-game losing streak.
- Shorthanded: The Raptors will be without Serge Ibaka for their next three games. Ibaka was suspended by the league following his involvement in a skirmish with Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss in Toronto’s loss to the Cavs on Monday. Both players were ejected from the game with a second remaining in the third quarter. The NBA announced the decision on Tuesday.
- Double-double: Kyle Lowry now has 19 double-doubles on the season. He has reached 20 double-doubles once in his career, when he recorded a career-best 23 double-doubles during the 2017-18 season. Lowry is second in the league in assists, averaging 9.1 per game. In nine games since the All-Star break, Lowry is averaging 18.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists while shooting 41 percent from three over six games in March.
- Familiar foe: Raptors fans are very familiar with LeBron James after James spent the first 15 years of his career in the Eastern Conference. In his first season playing in the Western Conference, James has still been a force. Through 49 games played (James has missed 19 games due to injury this year), he is leading the Lakers with 27.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists. He is shooting 52 percent from the floor, and 35 percent from beyond the arc in 35 minutes per game. In Los Angeles’ last game against the Bulls, James led all scorers with 36 points, just one game after he passed Michael Jordan for 4th place on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list