Lakers Vs. Raptors Game Preview & TV Info: Talen Horton-Tucker, Carmelo Anthony & Wayne Ellington Out
LeBron James, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few days ago, the Toronto Raptors added to the Los Angeles Lakers’ woes by dominating them at the Arena one night after the Lakers were embarrassed by the Phoenix Suns. Now, the Lakers have a chance for a little revenge north of the border.

In order to do so, the Lakers are going to have to figure out a way to stop this trend of awful starts. On this three-game losing streak, the Lakers have been outscored 112-51 in the first quarter. The Raptors ran out to a 21-2 lead in L.A. and ultimately led by 21 at the end of the first. To put it simply, the Lakers are out of the game before it really begins.

If the Lakers are going to have a better showing this time, they are going to have to do a much better job inside. The Lakers allowed the Raptors to gather 19 offensive rebounds and were outscored by 18 in the paint of the embarrassing loss.

Having Dwight Howard back on the court should help with that as he missed the first contest due to a family emergency and Wenyen Gabriel could see some more minutes as well as he enters the starting lineup for the first time.

Unfortunately, the Lakers will be short-handed as Talen Horton-Tucker has been ruled out with an ankle issue while Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington are out due to non-COVID illnesses.

But regardless of who’s playing, the most important thing for the Lakers continues to be their energy and effort. The Lakers have simply looked like they aren’t interested in playing hard until they are down by double-digits.

The Lakers will also have to do a better job limiting the Raptors frontcourt duo of Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. The two got any shot they wanted all night long and the Lakers wing defenders were either too small or too slow to make things difficult on them. The Raptors are an extremely balanced team as Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. are also more than capable of big nights, but the Lakers can’t let all of them have easy looks.

We all know LeBron James will do his part offensively, but it will be about the others if the Lakers are able to have a solid performance offensively. Whether it is Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Russell Westbrook or anyone else, the Lakers need some of these role players to step up if they plan on salvaging a tie in this season series.

Lakers (29-40) vs. Raptors (39-30)

4:30 p.m. PT, March 18, 2022
ScotiaBank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Malik Monk
SF: LeBron James
PF: Wenyen Gabriel
C: Dwight Howard

Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Stanley Johnson, D.J. Augustin, Trevor Ariza

Projected Raptors Starting Lineup:

PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: Scottie Barnes
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Precious Achiuwa

Key Reserves: Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young, Armoni Brooks, Khem Birch

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