Match Timing: March 15, 2019, @ 05:30 AM IST
NBA Regular Season
Venue – Scotiabank Arena
Toronto Raptors will be looking to return back to winning ways when they host a beleaguered Los Angeles Lakers in a regular season NBA match at Scotiabank Arena, in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday morning (IST).
Toronto Raptors are at a stage where they don’t need to shift gears on the court, and a mild run till the end of the season should be enough to guarantee a 2nd place finish in the Eastern Conference.
In fact, just making into the playoffs isn’t on the wishlist of head coach Nick Nurse and Raptors’ fans. The issue that needs sorting is Kawhi Leonard’s situation. The former San Antonio Spurs superstar will be a free agent in the off-season, and there are no reports indicating whether the 2014 NBA finals MVP will sign with the franchise or not.
Raptors’ rise this season, despite losing DeMar DeRozan to Spurs, is down to his immense contribution on the court. Not only he is racking up career-best numbers this season, but he is one of the best defensive players in the league, making him a unique player on team’ roster. So losing him will take the franchise to a mediocre level.
Los Angeles Clippers have been earmarked as his favorite destination but staying put in Toronto isn’t out of the question as well. However, to some degrees that depends on how deep Toronto manage to go in the playoffs this season. Some good and exciting addition to the roster will improve those chances significantly. But in the meantime, Raptors fans should enjoy his brilliance on the court while they can.
The Showtime are on a tailspin, to say the least. The very idea of bringing LeBron James to the Western Conference was fueled by the belief that a player as talented as him will take this franchise back into the playoffs.
But the ride has been bumpy and Lakers proved too brittle, going for 6-12 in his absence. As a result, Lakers lost ground on the playoffs and never really won enough games on the spin to bring their campaign back on track.
Now the 16-time NBA champions are 31-36 in regular season and sit 11th in the Western Conference heading into this match. They are long out of the playoff contention, and the franchise is already looking for the future, one of the decision in that regard being LeBron James’ minute restriction.
Toronto Raptors: W-48, L-20
Los Angeles Lakers: W-31, L-36
Kawhi Leonard –The big factor in Raptors’ resurgence as a team with a two-way approach. The 27-year-old is the tipping point of Raptors’ approach on the court, whether it’s offensive or the other side of the court. The former Spurs superstar is racking up 27.0 points per game. He is also making 1.8 steals and half a block per game
Pascal Siakam – The 24-year-old has averaged 20.9 points per game in the last 10 matches, making him one of the in-form players in Raptors’ roster. During that run-in, he has shot at .546 in field goals and also made 1 block per game.
Los Angeles Lakers:
LeBron James – Now fourth on the list of most points scored in the NBA history, LeBron James is still scoring points at an incredible rate. He is one of those players who makes age just a mere number. He will be 35 in December and look at his numbers this season, 27.3 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game and 8 assists per game, phenomena!
Kyle Kuzma – The 21-year-old has managed to make a name for himself this season, and his performance in the absence of Lebron James was incredible. He is scoring points at 18.9 per game.
Injured – Fred Van Vleet remains out due to a finger injury.
Questionable – None at the moment.
Suspended – Toronto Raptors Center Serge Ibaka has been handed a three-game suspension for an altercation with Cleveland Cavaliers’ Marquese Chriss.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Injured – Lonzo Ball (ankle injury) and Brandon Ingram (arm injury) will be missing the trip to Toronto.
Questionable – Tyson Chandler missed the game against Chicago Bulls with a neck injury and he remains questionable, while Kyle Kuzma (ankle injury) and Lance Stephenson (toe injury) both remain doubtful as well.
Suspended – None.
Toronto Raptors have suffered just seven games at Scotiabank Arena this season, while Los Angeles Lakers have gone 13-20 on the road. Considering LeBron is under minute restriction, we back Toronto to win the match.
NOTE: THIS LAL vs TOR Dream11 MATCH PREVIEW IS BASED ON OUR RESEARCH AND UNDERSTANDING FROM VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES. YOU CAN SELECT YOUR OWN PLAYING 11 ON THE BASIS OF TEAM NEWS.