LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, on the second game of their five game road trip, take on Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors with both teams missing key pieces to the puzzle.
Injuries are absolutely the major story to this game. On the Lakers’ side, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are out, as they sit the rest of the season. In addition, Lance Stephenson and Tyson Chandler are out with minor injuries. Josh Hart, who was listed as questionable, will be available to play.
For the Raptors, three extremely key players will be out. Serge Ibaka is serving the first of a three-game suspension for fighting with Marquese Chriss in the Raptors’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Fred Van Vleet will also be out with a broken thumb, although he is close to returning, and Kyle Lowry won’t play.
The Lakers are coming off of a road win against the Chicago Bulls, which was their first victory in the month of March and their first on the road since Feb. 7, when they defeated the Boston Celtics.
The Raptors currently sit in the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, however, with the playoffs already clinched for them and being a full three games back of the Milwaukee Bucks for first, they don’t have too much to play for.
Earlier in the season, the Raptors easily defeated the Lakers at Staples Center, winning 121-107. But with the Lakers all but eliminated from the playoffs, finding their motivation to go into Toronto and win this game might be tough.
G League standouts Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams and Andre Ingram might be integral in feeding some motivation to the team. In addition, Moe Wagner has had a great performance in his only start this season against the Celtics on March 9.
At this point in the season, it might almost behoove the Lakers to lose games, but as long as James is on the court, he will not allow the roster to have that mindset.
Los Angeles Lakers (31-36) vs. Toronto Raptors (48-20)
5:00 P.M. PT, Mar. 14, 2019
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Josh Hart, Alex Caruso, Moe Wagner, Johnathan Williams, Andre Ingram
Projected Raptors Starting Lineup:
PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: OG Anunoby, Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw