The Raptors are looking for their first season series sweep over the Lakers in franchise history, while L.A. is looking to finally climb above .500 for the first time this season.
Start time: 10:30 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Los Angeles: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Toronto: Well here’s a first…No injuries to report. Even Linas Kleiza is active.
Los Angeles: Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill are out
- I know Raptors history is littered with horrendous records and streaks against Western Conference opponents, but I figure their record on the road against the Lakers over the years has to be as bad as any other Raptors mark. Not only have the Raptors never won the two-game season series with the Lakers, but they’re a pitiful 2-13 against the Lakers on the road and haven’t beaten L.A. at Staples Center since the 2001-02 season (December 28, 2001, to be exact).
- Because of the wonky 66-game lockout schedule last season, the Raptors actually haven’t played the Lakers at Staples Center in over two years, with the last meeting in L.A. way back on November 5, 2010.
- The Lakers are 20-11 at home, have climbed within 1.5 games of a playoff spot, look poised to overtake Utah for eighth sometime soon and have gone 14-6 over their last 20 games, so you know this isn’t anything like the Lakers team that the Raptors cruised by in Toronto earlier this season. Having said all of that, I still don’t think they’ll handle the Raptors easily tonight and might even take the Raptors in the spread with L.A. favoured by eight points.
- Jonas Valanciunas said before the season started that he was most looking forward to matching up with Dwight Howard over any other centre, and after missing the first meeting with the Lakers, Valanciunas will finally get that chance tonight. Howard should dominate the rookie based on where each big man is in their career, but you never really know which Dwight you’re going to get from game to game and you can be sure that Jonas won’t back down.
- Landry Fields had his best game of the season against the Lakers in January, scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and defending Kobe Bryant as well as any Raptor in recent memory has, so it will be interesting to see if Dwane Casey leans on Fields again tonight.