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Lakers vs. Raptors Preview: Making due without LeBron and AD

After leaving very early in Tuesday’s loss vs. the Cavaliers due to a 101-degree fever, Anthony Davis will be out against the Raptors, and LeBron James will join him on the sidelines.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Update: On Wednesday morning, the Lakers declared that both LeBron James and Anthony Davis would be out against the Toronto Raptors. Patrick Beverley will additionally be doubtful with right knee soreness.

Original story follows.

Everyone has their own little remedies to deal with flu-like symptoms. Some have their choice of over-the-counter medicine that they feel works best for them, while some opt for weirder, more “alternative” types of treatment. I could be even sillier with the beginning of this game preview by listing one of those types of remedies, however, I don’t want to give anyone any ideas.

No matter what though, the best treatment for any cold or flu is hydration.

Hydration. Hydration. And more hydration.

Hopefully, Anthony Davis knows this and is drinking plenty of water as we speak, while also getting the second-best remedy after that: rest.

These things will be needed for him to be able to return to the court on Wednesday vs. the Toronto Raptors after leaving Tuesday’s loss vs. the Cavaliers only halfway through the 1st quarter.

Sadly, given the fact that the Lakers will be hopping on an international flight shortly after that disheartening loss against the Cavs, there won’t be much rest to be had for Davis. I’m sure he and the team will be getting him as much hydration as they can, but given the fact that he disappeared without a trace so early in Tuesday’s loss, an appearance from him on Wednesday vs. the Raptors would be shocking.

Here’s what else to look out for as the Lakers make the trip to Canada for the second leg of a back-to-back.

Not this again...

If you thought the Lakers’ 3-point shooting woes were gone... think again.

That flaw of the team reared its ugly head yet again on Tuesday vs. the Cavaliers. It seemed as if the Lakers had turned a corner from their disastrous start from beyond the arc to start the season, as they actually ranked 10th in 3-point field-goal percentage in the three weeks prior to this Cavs game.

Hopefully all of the Lakers have terrible memories, so that they can have a quick bounce back game in that regard against the Raptors. Otherwise, this performance so fresh in their mind will be sure to affect their shooting yet again.

Anthony Davis is the Lakers’ advantage vs. Raptors

Of course at this point, AD is the Lakers’ key to beating any opponent in the Association. However, the potential lack of Davis against the Raptors could turn a somewhat comfortable game for the Lakers into an extremely tough matchup, especially on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Raptors don’t have a great offense, but they’ve been able to come into this game with a 12-12 record behind their defense. They rank 7th in defensive rating on the season, however, that ranking isn’t propped up with stout rim defense like the Lakers’ 11th-ranked defense. They are actually lacking pretty heavily in that area, currently ranked 23rd in opponent’s field-goal percentage within five feet of the rim.

The key will be probing the Raptors’ defense to get to the rim. There’s got to be some reason that they have such a good defense, right? Well, that top-10 unit doesn’t let their opponents get to the rim often, allowing the 10th-fewest attempts per game within five feet of the rim.

The ability of the Lakers to get to the rim will depend on guys like Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker, and Austin Reaves finding ways to get around the infamously long and lanky Raptors defenders. Sadly, even if they do that, they may not get to loft up a pass to AD for an effortless finish.

If he is set to miss Wednesday’s game, hopefully Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones can hold down the fort without him (as they did admirably against the Cavs). If they can, maybe the Lakers can leave Canada with their spirits reinvigorated en route to finishing this road trip on a higher note.

Notes and Updates

  • Elsewhere on the injury report, Wenyen Gabriel will remain out after it was announced on Tuesday that he’d be reevaluated in one week with a shoulder sprain.
  • The Lakers were without Max Christie, Scotty Pippen Jr., and Cole Swider on Tuesday vs. the Cavs due to South Bay Lakers assignment, but the Lakers recalled Christie on Tuesday night, so it is possible he plays in this one given how banged up the Lakers are.
  • As for our neighbors to the north, they will be without Precious Achiuwa (right ankle sprain), Otto Porter Jr. (toe dislocation), and Juancho Hernangomez (right ankle sprain). No one else is listed on their injury report.

The Lakers and Raptors will tip off at 4:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Donny on Twitter at @donny_mchenry.

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