All of the odds are stacked against the Los Angeles Lakers as they head to Toronto to face the Raptors on Wednesday night. Anthony Davis left last night’s contest in Cleveland due to flu-like symptoms and is out for this game. Additionally, LeBron James will also sit on this second night of a back-to-back with left ankle soreness while Patrick Beverley is doubtful with right knee soreness.
While this puts the Lakers in a tough position, it also creates opportunities for others to step up and Thomas Bryant did just that against the Cavaliers. Bryant finished with a season-high 19 points and nine rebounds in the game and the Lakers will need a similar effort if they plan on pulling the upset in Toronto.
One thing that is for sure is that this will need to be a team effort for the Lakers to be successful. Ball and player movement on offense will be important and the guards will need to create looks for themselves and others. Dennis Schroder and Austin Reaves will likely be the main creators for the starting group and Lonnie Walker IV will have to step up not just as a scorer, but as a defender and passer as well, which he has shown capable of doing.
Obviously Russell Westbrook will also need to have a big game, but it will be absolutely crucial that he doesn’t try to do too much and start forcing things as that is where the Raptors thrive. Like the Lakers, Toronto isn’t the best outside-shooting team, but they are very good defensively, and the best in the league at forcing turnovers. The Raptors lead the league in points off turnovers and fast break points so the Lakers must take care of the ball or things will get ugly.
The Raptors have a big frontcourt led by Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes, so Troy Brown Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson and Max Christie will all be needed to deal with that size. And while Fred Van Vleet has struggled this season with his shooting, he is always capable of getting hot so the Lakers still can not afford to let him start cooking.
Los Angeles Lakers (10-13) vs. Toronto Raptors (12-12)
4:30 p.m. PT, December 7, 2022
ScotiaBank Arena, Toronto, ON
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: Troy Brown Jr.
C: Thomas Bryant
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Max Christie, Damian Jones
Projected Raptors Starting Lineup:
PG: Fred VanVleet
SG: OG Anunoby
SF: Scottie Barnes
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Christian Koloko
Key Reserves: Gary Trent Jr., Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
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