Game Preview: Raptors vs Lakers

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (8-1) @ Los Angeles Lakers (4-5)

When: Sunday, November 4th, 2018 9:30 P.M. ET

Where: Staples Center

Leading into tonight:

Injury Report: For the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard is listed as questionable with a jammed left ankle. For the Lakers, the injury report is to be announced. In the team's victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, Michael Beasley was out for personal reasons.

Starting off right: The Raptors kicked off their four-game road trip with a 107-98 victory against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. Kawhi Leonard led the team in scoring with 19 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 30 minutes. He left after jamming his ankle in the fourth quarter, but said after the game he didn’t think it was anything major. Danny Green was poked in the eye during Friday’s game, but after Saturday's practice said that his eye was feeling much better.

Back-to-back: The Lakers will be on a back-to-back when they face the Raptors on Sunday. Los Angeles defeated the Blazers 114-110 in Portland on Saturday night after leading big for much of the second half. Sunday’s game will be the first game in a back-to-back for the Raptors. After facing the Lakers, Toronto will head to Utah in advance of their meeting against the Jazz on Monday night at 9 P.M. ET.

Extra Assists

Return of the FVV: Fred VanVleet returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games with a sprained left toe. He played 21 minutes in his return on Friday, scoring eight points to go with three rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot. After the game, he said he would need a couple of games to get his wind back fully after the nearly two-week layoff since his last game, but his presence was felt immediately within the second unit. 

Another double-double: Though Kyle Lowry’s scoring was down against the Suns on Friday, with just 11 points coming from Toronto’s point guard, he dished 12 assists to collect another double-double. This was the seventh consecutive game he’s recorded 10+ assists, tying Damon Stoudamire’s seven-game record from the 1995-96 season. Lowry is leading the league in assists with an 11.2 assist per game average.

New-look Lakers: The Lakers team that Toronto will face on Sunday looks markedly different than a season ago. After 15 seasons in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James went west this offseason, signing with the Lakers as a free agent. Los Angeles also signed JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson this summer. James is leading the Lakers with 27.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 rebounds per game. Though you can’t ever hope to stop James entirely, the game plan is to make things as difficult as possible for him. “He’s got to see a lot of bodies,” Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren said. "He’s got to see different coverages, he’s going to see different matchups. Just be prepared. It’s a five-man game.”

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