Showtime: 10:00am PT
Plot: We now know the Lakers won't be going 1-14 in January, an ignominious dishonor that disappeared with a victory against the hated Celtics on Friday night. But can they loop together two wins in a row? Is that asking too much?
The Lakers go into Toronto for a Sunday matinee versus the Raptors, threatening to create their first winning streak in a month. It won't be an easy task, as LA has to try and beat one of the hottest teams in the league that hasn't lost at the Air Canada Center since December 18th. They've gone 13-6 since trading Rudy Gay, a deal that's opened up their offense and made them into one of the slickest scoring units in the league. Kyle Lowry has been absolutely balling, throwing up a career best nightly average of 16/4/7 and a .434/.409/.810 shooting slash line. DeMar DeRozan has been following his lead, scoring 21 per game, making them one of the highest scoring back court tandems in the NBA. If you've been following the LA Lakers this season, you know that this doesn't bode well for them tomorrow morning.
Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall led their team to victory on Friday night, with the Gasol and Marshall pouring in double-doubles in a 107-104 victory against the Celtics. The Lakers finally outrebounded an opponent, not to mention shooting a higher percentage, in a come from behind victory in Boston. It was an inspiring W to be sure, especially after a six game losing streak and especially against their old rivals in the C's. If the Lakers have any chance of defeating a hot Raptors team, they'll need to--surprise, surprise--try and find a way to hold down Lowry, DeRozan and SF Terrence Ross, a trio of great scorers who aren't afraid to get into the paint. But that's only on the other side of the court--on their own bench, LA will have a returning Nick Young, who they'll also need to try to contain, stopping Swaggy P from taking bad shots in an attempt to make up for his one game suspension. Toronto has one of the best defense in the league, so the Lakers must continue to share the ball and control the boards--an easy solution, but not necessarily LA's specialty.
The Lakers are two games into their seven game road trip and couldn't be happier with a .500 record. To beat the Raps though, they'll need to play even tighter than on Friday night. It's an early morning wake-up call, Lakers fans. Hopefully the team follows suit.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino