In what is surely a bummer for fans but hopefully an opportunity for the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers will be without their two best players when they visit Scotiabank Arena tonight. Both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (illness) will sit out. (Patrick Beverley is also out tonight, but given his recent play, who’s to say who this helps more?)
I know I for one was hoping to see LeBron again — there are only so many opportunities left, so many miles left on James’ body. Sure, he’s been pretty much superhuman up till now, but y’all know what they say about Father Time’s winning percentage! Hopefully there’s still a few chances left to see King James in TO.
But for the Raptors themselves, well, they need every break they can get as they navigate their own injuries and attempt to bust out of their current slump. They’ve lost three of their past four, and in each, have gone through extended stretches of subpar play that had a direct impact on the outcome of the game.
Against New Orleans, it was the entire first half in which the Raptors looked like hot garbage, giving up 63% shooting (and 9-of-18 from downtown) to the Pelicans, falling behind 73-47 at halftime. Versus Brooklyn? Thankfully, just the first quarter was a disaster (Brooklyn shot 15-for-20! Toronto shot 5-for-21!); the Raptors trailed 41-17 after 1, but won the next three quarters.
And against Boston, it was a decisive third quarter, in which the Celtics outscored Toronto 35-18, that tilted the game in Boston’s favour (the Raptors outscored Boston by 11 in the other three quarters).
So — can the Raptors give us a full 48 minutes tonight? Russell Westbrook has tormented Toronto in the past — as recently as least season! — which means the Raptors can’t look past an undermanned opponent.
For the Raps, they’ll once again be without Otto Porter Jr., Precious Achiuwa, and Juancho Hernangomez. Can they take advantage of a shorthanded opponent, who’s playing on the second night of a back-to-back? Let’s watch!
Where to watch:
TSN, 7:30 pm ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Christian Koloko
Los Angeles Lakers — Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker, Denis Schroder, Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr.
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out), Juancho Hernangomez (ankle – out)
Los Angeles Lakers — LeBron James (ankle – out), Anthony Davis (non-COVID illness – out), Wenyen Gabriel (shoulder – out), Patrick Beverley (knee – out)