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Game Thread: Raptors vs. Lakers updates, TV info, and more

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The Raptors will be without several key pieces as they head to Staples Center for the first half of an LA back-to-back. Can their remaining players step-up? Let’s watch.

Los Angeles Lakers v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Disaster has struck the Raptors at the worst time. Entering what seems likely to be the hardest stretch of schedule they’ll deal with all year, a Western Conference road swing featuring many playoff contenders, they’ve lost Kyle Lowry for two weeks (at least) and Serge Ibaka indefinitely. They’ll face the hardest challenge of that stretch immediately, encountering both LA teams, the Lakers and Clippers, who currently sit 1st and 3rd in the West respectively, in back-to-back contests at the Staples Center tonight and tomorrow.

The Raptors got off to a wonderful start that left them sitting pretty in second in the East, but now without both their most important player in Lowry, and most important bench player in Ibaka, it’s all set to come crumbling down. I can see the meteor. The dinosaur extinction event is coming. It’s the end of the world.

Actually, they’re still going to make the playoffs even if they lose 4 in a row, and they’re still defending champs no matter what, so it’s fine and who cares. This stretch should be a nice test for Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Siakam will be tasked with running the offense more often without Lowry, and, if he succeeds even a little, it could be proof that the Raptors have a true superstar on their hands. Anunoby, meanwhile, will draw defensive assignments against LeBron James and former teammate Kawhi Leonard in back-to-back games, a perfect opportunity for him to showcase the new defensive level he seems to have reached this year.

So, be hopeful but realistic, and remember that Fred VanVleet is a Toronto hero no matter how much he pounds the ball over the next two weeks. Now, let’s watch.

Where to Watch:

TSN 4/5, 9:30 p.m.

Lineups:

Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol

Los Angeles — Avery Bradley, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee

Injuries:

Toronto — Kyle Lowry (Out — thumb), Serge Ibaka (Out — ankle), Patrick McCaw (Out — surgery)

Los Angeles — Rajon Rondo (Questionable — ankle), DeMarcus Cousins (Out — knee)