The Toronto Raptors are still in Los Angles, only this time, their rivals are the Lakers, not the Clippers. Both units are currently ninth in their respective conferences and are looking for a way to improve their position. Or even, if possible, to reach the sixth place and enter the playoffs directly. Though, that requires a wild scenario. The home unit is solid lately, despite not having LeBron, while Toronto’s results are a bit weaker because the Canadian franchise has played games on the road recently.
Toronto Raptors (32-35, +100) will play its fifth consecutive away game on Friday night. Their road trip began in Washington, where Raptors faced the Wizards on back-to-back nights, and then went to Denver and LA. Nick Nurse’s crew had only one victory throughout that stretch, in DC following an OT.
Later, Toronto lost to Denver, 118-113, and against the Clippers in the most recent encounter, 108-100. The Raptors couldn’t restrain the hosts in the paint, as LAC had 60 points from that area, and the Raptors 42.
Even though Toronto hit 13 threes and the hosts only 6, the former champs ended up on the losing side. Pascal Siakam had a poor night, with nine field goals in 21 shots, for 20 points and six boards. Scottie Barnes added 20 points, OG Anunoby dropped 18, and Chris Boucher came off the bench to score 14.
LA Lakers (32-34, -110) struggle with injuries but are playing above expectations. Anthony Davis took over the wheel in the past few events, covering up LBJ’s absence, and the purple and gold won three of the previous four events. He had 39 against the Golden State Warriors in a game that ended 113-105 for the LAL and was excellent vs. the Grizzlies after that.
It was the most recent event for the Lakers, who won 112-103. They broke the rivals in the final period, with Davis dominating under both rims. He ended the night with 30 points and 22 boards, having 11 hits in 17 attempts.
Though, he had diverse support, with three LAL players scoring 17 buckets, Dennis Schroder, who had nine assists and six boards, and two guys off the bench, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves. The latter added seven assists too and was creating chances for other players to be efficient.
Head to Head Games
The Raptors hosted the Lakers in the year’s first meeting in early December. Toronto was better 126-113 in Canada, having three players with 20+ points, Siakam and VanVleet, 25, and Anunoby 23. Gary Trent JR scored 18. The Lakers were without both LBJ and Davis, so Schroder had a team-high 18 buckets, so their loss wasn’t such a big deal at the time.
The Lakers are playing at home, which is a big deal for the purple and gold, who are performing much better at the Crypto.com Arena than on the road. We’ve seen that in the recent past. Toronto is already in problems, and its form is on the decline. The stakes are high, and Darvin Ham’s crew won’t miss this opportunity to stay in the postseason race and move a bit closer to the playoffs.
Pick: LA Lakers -120
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.
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