The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a big win against one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams and they hope for a repeat performance when they host the Toronto Raptors on Friday. A key 3-pointer by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - one of five Lakers in double figures - helped the Lakers pick up a 102-99 overtime win against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
“You have a chance to win if you can play defense,” coach Luke Walton told reporters after his team held the Wizards to 13 points in the fourth quarter and seven in overtime. “That’s kind of the message that we have been trying to deliver, so it was good to have them actually experience that for themselves in a game.” The Raptors present another challenge on the defensive end for Los Angeles, as they entered Thursday’s action ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring (113.5) and kept pace with the high-powered Golden State Warriors in a 117-112 loss on Wednesday. DeMar DeRozan led six players in double figures with 24 points for Toronto, which is 0-2 on its six-game road trip. Centers Jonas Valanciunas and Lucas Nogueira both sat with ankle injuries and are considered day-to-day.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet ONE (Toronto), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (2-2): The injuries to Valanciunas and Nogueira gave an opportunity for Pascal Siakam to slide into the starting lineup and Jakob Poeltl to contribute more off the bench. Siakam responded with a career-high 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Poeltl chipped in 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. DeRozan is averaging 27.3 points while shooting 54 percent over the last three games and he has nine steals in the last two.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (2-2): Forwards Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr. combined for 37 points and 20 boards in the win over the Wizards, while rookie Lonzo Ball overcame a tough shooting night with 10 assists and eight rebounds. Ball is averaging 10.7 assists and nine rebounds over a three-game stretch but he’s shot 23.1 percent from the floor or worse in three of four contests this season. Fellow first-year pro Kyle Kuzma has provided a big boost off the bench for Los Angeles, averaging 16.7 points over his last three games.
1. Toronto won five straight meetings.
2. Raptors PG Kyle Lowry needs 18 points to surpass Morris Peterson (6,498) and move into fifth on the franchise’s all-time list.
3. Lakers C Brook Lopez is averaging eight points and 3.5 rebounds over the last two games after posting 19.5 and 8.5 in his first two.
PREDICTION: Raptors 110, Lakers 106