The story around the Los Angeles Lakers has shifted over the last few weeks, going from massive losing streak to winners of eight of their last 10 games. They take a four-game winning streak over the border when they face the Toronto Raptors for a Sunday afternoon matinee.
The Lakers have found their way without Lonzo Ball, relying on Jordan Clarkson to lift their backcourt production. Brandon Ingram looks like he might be getting into rhythm as well, dropping 25 points on the Chicago Bulls in his last outing.
This will be a big challenge for the Lakers’ defense, where they might feel the absence of Lonzo a bit more. Kyle Lowry is going to be a huge challenge for Tyler Ennis to deal with, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will have hands full with DeMar DeRozan to chase around. Getting DeRozan off his spots is something Ingram will certainly lend his wingspan to as well.
Keep an eye on Jonas Valanciunas, who is a legitimate big man that will make for a tough matchup with the Lakers often angling to play smaller. Let’s also not forget that Serge Ibaka is also in the mix, giving the frontcourt plenty of work to handle as well. Hopefully Julius Randle’s energy and physicality play a factor, while Kyle Kuzma’s versatility on offense creates a matchup problem in the Lakers’ favor.
Should the Lakers escape Toronto with a victory, it will tie their longest winning streak in the last five seasons. On one hand that’s fantastic news, on the other.... damn. Things have been bad, but maybe they really are getting better.
Either way, enjoy the game as the weekend winds down.
Time: 3 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet