Game Preview: Raptors at Lakers

Holly MacKenzie – Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (2-2)  @ Los Angeles Lakers (2-2)

When: Friday, October 27th 10:30 P.M. ET

Where: Staples Center

Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050

LAST MEETING

Toronto last faced the Lakers on New Year’s Day last season where Kyle Lowry exploded for 41 points to secure a 123-114 Raptors road win. With his team leading for much of the game, Lowry turned up his game in crunch time when Los Angeles tried to make a comeback, scoring 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter. Lowry, who also recorded nine rebounds and seven assists in the game, received plenty of help from backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan who scored 31 points in the win. The combined total of 72 points between the two was the most points they have combined to score as teammates. The Lakers were led by a D’Angelo Russell/Nick Young backcourt that combined to score 54 points. Neither Russell nor Young are with the Lakers this season.

LEADING INTO TONIGHT

Injury status: Jonas Valanciunas has missed the last two games for the Raptors as he recovers from a sprained ankle sustained during Toronto’s home victory against the Sixers last Saturday. Lucas Nogueira missed Toronto’s loss to the Warriors with his own ankle sprain.

Rookie watch: Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball entered the season as one of the most-talked-about rookies in the league. Though he has struggled with his shot early on, he has shown why the Lakers selected him second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Even when he isn’t scoring, he makes his impact felt. Through four games, Ball is averaging 11.5 points, nine assists, nine rebounds and 1.0 steal per contest.

Milestone on deck for DeRozan: Friday’s game in Los Angeles won’t just be a homecoming for Compton native DeMar DeRozan, it’ll also be his 600th game in a Raptors uniform. DeRozan is already the franchise leader in games played and points scored. With this new milestone, he’ll become the 11th active player to appear in 600 games with their current team, joining Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Nick Collison, Udonis Haslem, LeBron James, Mike Conley, DeAndre Jordan, Russell Westbrook and Marc Gasol.

EXTRA ASSISTS

Bench mob: Dwane Casey has said since the beginning of training camp that the Raptors want to see their younger players perform this season and Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam have made the most of increased playing time with Jonas Valanciunas and Lucas Nogueira sidelined because of ankle sprains. Siakam started against the Warriors, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes. Poeltl came off the bench, but made it difficult to take him off the floor as he dominated the offensive glass, pulling down 14 rebounds, 11 offensive, to go with 12 points in 27 minutes of playing time.

Highlight reel: Check out Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl making the Warriors to work on Wednesday night:

Controlling the boards: Despite the Raptors going small against the Warriors, starting Pascal Siakam alongside Serge Ibaka, the team made a concerted effort to be better on boards and won the rebounding battle with the Warriors, 42-37, including 17-6 on the offensive glass as Jakob Poeltl’s 11 offensive rebounds matched Draymond Green’s team-high total rebounds.

Depth on display: As younger players on the roster show improvements and abilities, the coaching staff has been willing to go to them early on. The veteran-C.J.-Miles-plus-young-guys lineup has been particularly fruitful for the Raptors, with Miles’ finding Poeltl on multiple possessions against the Warriors and rookie OG Anunoby already showing a solid feel for the game and chemistry with his teammates. Through four games, Toronto’s bench is averaging 44.0 points per game, good for fourth in the league.

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