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After the first overtime game of the season, the Lakers emerged victorious against the Washington Wizards and will be looking to carry the momentum against the Toronto Raptors in a Friday night matchup at Staples Center.
The Raptors (2-2) last played the Warriors in Oakland and lost 117-112. After facing a tough test with the backcourt pairing of John Wall and Bradley Beal, Lonzo Ball and Kung-fu Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will have their work cut out for them again as Demar DeRozan and skinny Kyle Lowry come to town. Whether it be Larry Nance and Brook Lopez or Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle in the frontcourt, they will (potentially) be going against a formidable duo with Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka.
Defensively, the Lakers can use some work as the team in total is giving up a total of 114 ppg through four games (27th in the league) while Toronto is scoring 113 per game giving them the 5th highest scoring offense in the league.
The Lakers, in contrast, are 10th in scoring offense with 109.5 per game while Toronto’s defense is giving up 103 per game ranking them at 13th.
A strength of the Lakers is their bench that is so far averaging 45.3 points per game but they to are matched against a Toronto bench that averages 44 per game. Through the preseason and the early stages of the regular season, I really have enjoyed seeing the Ingram/Kuzma/Randle frontcourt. Paired with Lonzo and KCP, those five played nearly 20 minutes in the game against the Wizards and yielded a plus-minus of +11. I hope to see their success carry over against the Raptors.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Julius Randle, DPOY: Stay with me for this one, Randle has been pretty good defensively. He did a good job against Demarcus Cousins against the Pelicans and held his own against John-freakin-Wall the last game. Having this guy who can defend in the paint and take care of guards on switches could be a huge part of the year going forward. Coming against a team that boasts talent in the front and backcourt, Randle’s defense could prove to be vital towards a Laker victory down the stretch.
- Lonzo’s impact: There are still a lot of people questioning the legitimacy of the rookie point guard and wondering if he’s “good”. Yes, he is. Despite not quite having a consistent scoring touch, it has been four games and I like that he’s confident enough to not wilt under pressure. The scoring will sort itself out, but he has showcased his feel for the game, as he is averaging 9 rebounds and 9 assists to lead the Lakers in those categories.
- Toronto Raptors:
- Lucas Nogueira: (Ankle) Out Wednesday, Status for Friday Unknown
- Jonas Valanciunas: (Ankle) Doubtful
WHERE TO WATCH
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
Friday, October 27 at 7:30 PM (PST)