After a sloppy, but exciting win against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers move onto game two of the seeding matchups. This time around they will visit the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors come in with the third-best record in the NBA at 46-18 behind the Lakers. A win or a Clippers loss today will allow the Lakers to secure the number one record in the Western Conference.
Struggles Against The Raptors
The Raptors are one of two teams that the Lakers have not secured a win against this season, the other being the Indiana Pacers. Dating back to LeBron James joining the Lakers in 2018, they’ve yet to get a win against them (0-4). Their most recent game in November resulted in a 113-104 loss at Staples Center.
Despite losing Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors continue to be sound on both ends, especially on defense. They come in ranked 2nd in the league in defensive rating.
Getting LeBron Going
LeBron had a subpar showing in the opener offensively by his standard finishing 6 for 19 with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The game was reminiscent of his performance in November against the Raptors where he finished with 13 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds. Similar to the Clippers, the Raptors have similar lengthy and strong bodies to attempt to slow down LeBron. It’s expected that LeBron will continue to scout and work himself into the flow of the game against another elite defense.
The Bench Mob
The role players around LeBron James and Anthony Davis came up big on Thursday, especially the bench guys. Kyle Kuzma, Dion Waiters, and Alex Caruso combined for 34 points and made many important plays that secured their first seeding game win. Going into tonight’s matchup, Kuzma could be the X-factor again and help the Lakers finally break through against the Raptors.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30PM EST/5:30PM PST on ESPN.