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Los Angeles Lakers at Toronto Raptors Game Preview and Prediction

The inter-conference foes will meet at the Scotiabank Arena on Thursday when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Toronto Raptors after snapping the five-game losing streak with a road victory over Chicago, while the hosts returned to Toronto from a three-game road trip and the recent defeat to Cleveland. Toronto has been a way better rival in the recent H2H duels as they won the last nine meetings including the previous four in front of their own crowd, while the Raptors secured a 121-107 victory at the Staples Center earlier this season.  NBA: Thursday, March 14, 2019, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, 7:00 PM ET

 

Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 20-point deficit to beat Chicago

Los Angeles was in a bad run of results as they suffered five consecutive defeats and they opened the tilt against the Chicago Bulls quite slowly but managed to overcome a huge deficit to get the victory and snap the negative streak. The Lakers now improved to the 31-36 record and are currently sitting in the 11th position in the Western Conference with 15 wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors and eight wins behind the city rivals Los Angeles Clippers. Los Angeles will likely miss out on the playoffs this year unless something spectacular happens and they win all of their remaining games in the regular season.

LeBron James led the Lakers in a 123-107 win over the Bulls with a double-double of 36 points (15-23 FG, 2-4 3PT, 4-5 FT) and ten rebounds along with four assists and a couple of steals. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in with 24 points, six boards, and two thefts off the bench, Kyle Kuzma added 21 points, five rebounds, and four dimes, Rajon Rondo posted a double-double of 14 points and game-high ten dishes along with four boards and two steals, while JaVale McGee recorded a double-double of ten points and game-high 11 rebounds with game-high three blocks. Los Angeles was horrible in the opening quarter and lost it by 18 points but they responded in the second and exploded for 43 points in the third to record a comeback victory.

Brandon Ingram (arm) is expected to miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season and Lonzo Ball (ankle) has been shut down for the remainder of the season. Josh Hart (knee) is questionable for Thursday against the Raptors, while Lance Stephenson (toe) is also questionable for this clash.

The Lakers have the 16th offense in the NBA that averages 112.2 points per contest, while their defense is the 25th in the league as it allows 113.9 points per game. Los Angeles’ rebounding is in top ten as they are recording 46.2 boards per game (7th), while they are slightly above average when it comes to assists per contest with 25.3 dishes a night (12th). Los Angeles is 6th in field goal percentage as they have 47.5 percent from the floor and 29th from downtown with 33.4 percentage, while they are 21st in the NBA with 10.2 three-pointers made per game.

Toronto Raptors suffered a disappointing loss in Cleveland

Toronto spent the previous three games on the road and they beat New Orleans and Miami but suffered an unexpected loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors dropped to the 48-20 record and are in the 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with three wins behind the conference leaders Milwaukee Bucks. Toronto already secured the playoff spot and they are five wins ahead of the Atlantic Division rivals Philadelphia 76ers and it will be interesting to see whether they are good enough to take the Bucks off the top of the conference in remaining 14 games.

Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in a 126-101 loss to the Cavaliers with 25 points and team-high nine rebounds; Pascal Siakam had 15 points and four boards, while Kyle Lowry finished the clash with 14 points, team-high six dimes, and five rebounds. Toronto was awful in the second half as they scored just 46 points in opposite to Cleveland’s 67, and the most important highlight of the tilt was a fight between Serge Ibaka and Marquese Chriss, after which both players were ejected.

Serge Ibaka has been suspended for three games for his altercation with MarqueseChriss on Monday. Fred VanVleet (thumb) went through a light practice with the Raptors on Wednesday but he is still unavailable to play, while Kyle Lowry (left ankle) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice but he’s probable to face the Lakers.

The Raptors have the top 10 offense in the NBA that averages 114.0 points per contest (9th), while their defense is the 10th in the league as it allows 108.9 points per game. Toronto’s rebounding is slightly below average as they are recording 45.1 boards per game (17th), while they not much better when it comes to assists per contest with 24.9 dishes a night (14th). Toronto is 9th in field goal percentage as they have 47.0 percent from the floor and 17th from downtown with 35.2 percentage, while they are 11th in the NBA with 11.8 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

Los Angeles:

  • 13-17 ATS in the last 30 games after a win
  • 6-16-1 ATS in the last 23 non-conference games
  • 15-18 ATS in the last 33 games played on the road

Toronto:

  • 26-25 ATS in the last 51 games after 2-3 days off
  • 59-56-3 ATS in the last 118 games after a loss

The Winner Prediction

Toronto won nine out of the previous ten H2H encounters including the last nine, while the Raptors were victorious in the past four meetings at the Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors were pretty good in the opening tilt of this season’s series as they defeated the Lakers, 121-107 on the road, and although they will be without Ibaka in this one, Los Angeles is shorthanded with Ingram and Ball out and I don’t think LeBron can singlehandedly beat the Raptors. He will get help from Kuzma and Rondo, among others, but the hosts have greater depth at the moment, and I am backing Leonard, Lowry, and co. to get a victory here and stay in the race for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Pick: Toronto Raptors -10 (-110)

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