The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen back to California after enduring training camp and two preseason losses in Hawaii. An overtime loss to the Utah Jazz came at a cost, though, with D'Angelo Russell suffering a bruised glute and Brandon Bass potentially injuring his knee. Russell is considered a game-time decision, while Bass doubtful to play against the Toronto Raptors.
Bass's absence could mean some extra burn for Larry Nance, Jr., who got his first taste of NBA action after sitting out of the preseason opener. Nance's sensational game during Summer League that had the crowd chanting "LAR-RY" was one of the highlights of exhibition play in Las Vegas. This could also mean Julius Randle soaks up a few extra minutes as he tries to follow up an impressive 16-point outing, and maybe even a look at some of the unheralded talent like Jonathan Holmes.
Kobe Bryant looked great in his second-outing, scoring efficiently and doing a great job of facilitating the offense in the absence of Russell. He made it look easy to hit his teammates with look-away passes and other dazzling assists, setting up easy scoring opportunities for the Lakers. He doesn't always pass, but when he does, it's fancy. Stay passing, my friends.
The Raptors' underwent two major changes in the offseason. Signing DeMarre Carroll, who broke out with the Hawks as a three-and-D wing, should be a big help to their perimeter game on both ends of the court. Replacing Lou Williams, however, won't be easy. He had a great season with Toronto, averaging a career-high 15.5 points per game before taking claim to the Sixth Man of the Year award. Shifting away from his score-first instincts may have been a change in direction the Raptors felt was necessary, but it won't be easy replacing that kind of productivity in the backcourt. We'll see if Cory Joseph can fill that void after parting ways with the San Antonio Spurs.
Enjoy the game, which hopefully includes D'Angelo Russell trying to notch a full second game under his belt! Lakers Late Night will be hosted by Harrison Faigen following the game.
Time: 7 p.m. PT