The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a crucial clash between LA Lakers and Toronto Raptors as the playoff squeeze ramps up in both conferences.
12:00 (AEST), Mon 3rd May @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 48: Lakers 29 V Raptors 19
Last meeting: April 6, 2021: Lakers 110 d Raptors 101 at Amalie Arena
Final Thoughts: LA Lakers have their megastar duo back on deck, but they are desperately chasing wins. Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, face a second Western Conference heavyweight in as many days.
Anthony Davis is five games into his return from a lengthy layoff and had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 110-106 loss to the Kings in the Lakers’ most recent outing. LeBron James returned in that game with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
The 36-27 Lakers have now lost five of their last six. Now fifth and with little hope of climbing higher, the champs are staring down the barrel of dropping into the play-in tournament spots if they cannot arrest this slide.
The 26-38 Raptors are 12th in the East but still a chance of forcing their way into the play-in tournament.
They have lost four of their last five, giving up a six-point halftime lead in a 106-102 defeat to the Jazz yesterday. Fred VanVleet starred for Toronto with 30 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Big man Khem Birch (17 pts, 10 reb, 6 ast) was also impressive.
After losing their previous 11 games to the Raptors, the injury-ravaged Lakers snared a 110-101 victory in Toronto last month.
Talen Horton-Tucker (17 pts, 6 ast) top-scored off the bench – one of seven Lakers to score in double digits. Pascal Siakam (27 pts, 7 reb) was strong in a losing effort.
The Lakers are a modest 17-14 at home – and have covered just 12 of 31 games as hosts. The Raptors are 10-21 on the road (12-19 ATS).
Toronto have an abysmal 1-9 record on no days’ rest this season. That combined with LeBron having a game under his belt point to a much-needed W for the Lakers.
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