The Lakers clearly don’t care very much about the standings right now, or they at least don’t appear to be the team’s primary focus. Still, the team’s televised scrimmages actually do count for their record, and on that front, the Toronto Raptors should at least offer an opportunity to try and edge out the Dallas Mavericks in the race for the No. 5 seed.
Dallas capitalized on the Lakers’ recent loss by beating the Wizards to tie the Lakers in overall record (36-27), and now are in sole possessions of the fifth seed by virtue of winning the season series and owning the resulting tiebreaker. If the Lakers want to get back into fifth, they’ll have to beat Toronto on Sunday.
To give one a sense of where the Raptors are at, they were recently fined for (essentially) not coming up with a good enough excuse to rest their players and tank, so who they even make available for this one could be an adventure, especially after playing in Utah on Saturday night.
As for what to expect from the Lakers in this one, who the hell knows at this point. Maybe they’ll look better as they continue to work out the kinks in LeBron James’ second game back, or maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll start trying on defense again, or maybe they won’t. I’m not gonna claim I can predict how this team is going to approach any given game this season anymore after the last several weeks.
At this point, all I can say for sure is that the Lakers and Raptors will tip off on Sunday at 7 p.m. PT at Staples Center. The game will be shown locally on Spectrum SportsNet and nationally on NBA TV. Try to stay sane, everyone.
- Both LeBron James (right ankle sprain) and Alex Caruso (back spasms) are being listed as questionable to play against Toronto.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right calf strain), Marc Gasol (volar plate fracture, left pinkie finger), Kyle Kuzma (left thumb sprain) and Dennis Schröder (left calf soreness) are all probable to play.