This could be a perfect storm…for the Lakers. The Raptors haven’t been playing well lately, are without their star player and the Lakers are coming off a loss to the Kings…yes, the Kings who have won 2 of their last 9. The Lakers might have received a little talk after the game and might be looking to get back into the swing of things against the Raptors.
But let’s not assume it will all be doom and gloom for the Raptors. The Lakers are middle of the pack defensively and while the Raptors are missing Chris Bosh, the most vital part of their offense, they still have the ability to score points by sharing the ball. Since Bosh went down (including the Indiana game), the Raptors have been averaging 104 points, about 4 more than their season average. That stat comes with a caveat - the points have been piled up against Indiana, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Washington and Seattle and only one of those teams (the Wiz) are part of the league’s top 15 defensive teams.
The good thing is that even though they have played some defensively weak teams, the Raptors have been able to put points up on the board without Bosh, showing that they are able to work more than a two-man game. Confidence comes from scoring the points, but it builds on using the ability to score to translate into a win. If that win could take place in LA, then it could provide the Raptors with the little bit of momentum they are going to need to get through this road trip…a road trip that may not see Bosh in a uniform at any point.
There have been a lot of complaints regarding the Raptors and their defense, but defending has not been that big of a problem for the Raptors. They are in the top 10 and have shown that they are able to turn that good D into some transition points, getting down the floor quickly for uncontested layups. The problem for the Raptors has always been rebounding. We all know that Kobe likes to shoot, even though he is passing more than before. If he gets hot, which he usually does, it could be a long night for the Raptors. But if Kobe comes out cold and they are able to pick a couple of rebounds and head the other way, they just might have a chance. End of the game, if the rebounding totals are close, I wouldn’t be surprised if the score is close.
Enjoy the game.