|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 PM CT23:30 , August 1, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena, Reunion, Florida
Raptors resume title defense vs. Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers at Toronto Raptors
- The Raptors won the only meeting this season between these teams, 113-104 in November. Toronto has won 10 straight against Los Angeles, dating back to the 2014-15 season. The Lakers' 10-game losing streak to the Raptors is their longest active drought against any single team.
- The Raptors are 21-4 in their last 25 games and won four straight games -- all on the road -- before the NBA went on hiatus. Since January 15, Toronto has a +8.6 points per game differential, second best in the NBA over that span (Mil, +8.9).
- The Lakers beat the Clippers 103-101 on Thursday in their first seeding game in Orlando and have won 12 of their last 14 games. Their 39.0-percent shooting Thursday was their lowest in a victory since the 2015-16 season.
- Pascal Siakam is averaging 23.9 points over his last 20 games. The Raptors are 36-5 (.878) this season when Siakam scores at least 17 points but are 10-13 (.435) when he either does not play or scores 16 or less.
- In Thursday's win over the Clippers, Anthony Davis recorded his first game of the season with zero blocks and zero steals. Davis has a league-high 40 games with at least one block and one steal this season, and he leads the NBA with 3.9 combined blocks and steals per game.
- The Lakers and Raptors are the only two NBA teams who are above .500 this season when being outrebounded by their opponents. The Raptors are 20-15 (.571) when losing the board battle, and the Lakers are 12-9 (.571).
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LeBron James said that finding a rhythm on offense might take time for the Los Angeles Lakers. Defending, though, is crucial when the Lakers aren't at the top of their game offensively, he believes.
The Lakers hope to enjoy a better offensive showing Saturday night when they meet the Toronto Raptors in a matchup of top NBA contenders at The Arena near Orlando. Toronto has won the past 10 meetings.
Despite shooting only 39 percent, the Lakers opened their restart campaign Thursday with a 103-101 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Anthony Davis scored 34 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Lakers (50-14) increased their edge in the Western Conference standings to 6 1/2 games over the Clippers with seven contests remaining in the abbreviated regular season.
James scored the winning bucket inside with 12.8 seconds left, converting after getting the rebound of his own missed shot. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and also forced Paul George to miss a game-winning 3-point attempt at the final horn.
"I love having the ball in my hands late in the game, tie game, being down, being up," said James, who struggled on offense, shooting 6-for-19 and committing five turnovers. "We had a three-point (lead) with like 40 seconds to go. We got a great look for Danny (Green). He missed it. Paul George came back and hit a 3 to tie the game. For me, it was to be aggressive ... I was able to follow my own shot and put us up for good."
The Raptors, who will be playing their first restart game, completed the last of three scrimmages Tuesday in a 117-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 17 points while Norman Powell added 14. Fred VanVleet finished with 13, and Kyle Lowry had 11 points and seven assists.
"I think we have a group of professionals that go out there and know their jobs and understand their roles and I think that's one thing I will say is we have is true professionals, guys who want to win and guys who want to continue to chase what we want to try to get to again and that's holding the trophy at the end of this season," Lowry said after practice Friday. "For us, it's about just being us and continuing to try to grow in these eight games and then pushing forward to the next three months of the playoffs."
The defending champions played well before the break, owning the NBA's third best record at 46-18. They are a distant second in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
"We like to think we're pretty good," Raptors coach Nick Nurse joked, when asked about his team's chances of contending again. "I think we've got some special players, I think we've got a good combination of experience with some energetic youth. I think we play defense and really like to play defense. Again, I think if you play defense in the way we're capable of doing it you can go a long ways in any season."
In the teams' only meeting earlier this season, the Raptors earned a 113-104 road victory over the Lakers on Nov. 10.
The Lakers last defeated Toronto on Nov. 30, 2014.
--Field Level Media
Updated July 31, 2020