NBA Preview and Free Pick
The free falling Los Angeles Lakers are north of the boarder on Thursday night for a non-conference tilt against the Toronto Raptors. Tipoff is schedule for 8:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in Ontario. NBA Preview and Free Pick: Raptors vs Lakers OVER.
The Lakers are dead in the water concerning making the Western Conference postseason bracket. LA has dropped 11 of 14 games but are coming off a come-from-behind 123-107 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. The Raptors looked defensively inept in their loss to Cleveland in their last event. A third quarter scrum found Toronto forward Serge Ibaka and the Cleveland frontcourt taking swings at each other in the late stages of the Raps loss. Ibaka will not be available when the Raptors for tonight’s contest against Lakers.
Los Angeles has said all of the right things in postgame pressers during the their porous skid. LeBron and his teammates are playing little to no defense and using the final dozen games in the regular season slate to give their young squad hardwood minutes, offensive minutes, as defense isn’t a consideration for this City of Angels squad.
Toronto owns the second-best record in the NBA and second best in the Eastern Conference. Their goal isn’t to overtake the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East as much as it is to hold onto the second postseason seed. A spot in the standings they currently hold a five-game edge over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Raptors rest three-games behind the Bucks with 14 games left in the regular season. Kawhi Leonard will continue to be offered games off and limited minutes making the Raptors much more offensive than defensive.
Ibaka was suspended three games by the NBA on Tuesday for instigating a fight with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Maquese Chriss in which multiple punches were thrown in the third quarter of Toronto’s 126-101 loss. Expect to see more Gasol and his ability to score tonight.
There will be little to no defense tonight in Toronto. Neither team is going to be all-in for a victory in this non-conference contest. The Lakers are likely to be without center Tyson Chandler (neck) and veteran forward Lance Stephenson (toe). Both teams exceed 110 points in the entertaining TNT event.