Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Records: Raptors (48-20), Lakers (31-36)
Where to Watch
Date: March 14
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
The Toronto Raptors return home from a three-game road trip on Thursday for a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Whereas the Raptors are going to be in the playoffs regardless of how the final month of the regular season plays out, the Lakers are still fighting to keep their season alive. Entering Thursday's game, they are seven games behind the LA Clippers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings, a massive amount of ground to make up with only 15 games remaining on the schedule.
Making matters more difficult for the Lakers is they'll have to do it without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, both of whom have been ruled out for the remainder of the season, as well as a limited LeBron James, who has been put on a minutes restriction.
Will that prevent James from having a big game? Time will tell.
The four-time MVP has a history of playing well against the Raptors on their home court. The last time he was in Toronto was Game 2 of last season's second round series between the Cavaliers and Raptors, when James recorded 43 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds in a big win for Cleveland.
Looking to slow him down this time will be Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, two veterans who had a number of battles with James during their time with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Raptors will be without Serge Ibaka, who will serve the first of a three-game suspension for his role in a fight with Cavaliers forward Marquese Chriss.
Ibaka was terrific in the first matchup between the Raptors and Lakers this season, exploding for 34 points and 10 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard sat out that game with left foot soreness. If he plays on Thursday, it will be his first time playing against LeBron James since March 27, 2017.
Leonard is 5-3 against James in the regular season and 7-5 against him in the playoffs.
According to Tankathon, the Lakers have the eighth-hardest remaining schedule this season. The Raptors, on the other hand, have the second-easiest.
The Lakers are coming off of a 16-point win over the Chicago Bulls and the Raptors are coming off of a 25-point loss to the Cavaliers.
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 4, 2018
Score: Raptors 121, Lakers 107
Raptors: Serge Ibaka - 34 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma - 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists