Featured Video from Scott Steehn
When and where: March 14, 2019, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, 8:00 PM ET
The struggling Los Angeles Lakers hope to bow out of the season gracefully with a few marquee wins over playoff-contending teams like the Toronto Raptors. It took a road win over the Chicago Bulls for the Lakers to snap a five-game losing streak on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Raptors have lost three of their last five games, including Monday’s surprising upset loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lakers rally against the Bulls
The Lakers looked like they were headed towards their sixth consecutive loss on Tuesday night against the Bulls. They fell behind by 18 points in the first quarter by a Bulls team that didn’t even have its best player, Zach LaVine, on the floor. Then LeBron James did what he probably should have done several games ago.
He took the ball and became the human freight train.
Even at age 34, there isn’t a single player in the league that can handle James one-on-one. There certainly isn’t one on the Bulls’ moribund defense. It wasn’t long before that 18-point deficit was gone, and the Lakers were back in front with James putting on an offensive clinic. He notched a double-double under his belt that night with 36 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The Lakers also got a huge boost off the bench from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who netted 24 points, six rebounds and two steals. Kyle Kuzma finished with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists in the 123-107 victory.
On-court fight looms in disappointing night for the Raptors
The real fighting for the Raptors took place during the on-court scuffle between center Serge Ibaka and Cavaliers forward Marquese Chriss. Calling it a scuffle might even be putting it mildly considering there was also jersey tugging and fists flying. If you were a Raptors fan, it was the most entertainment you got all night considering the team put forth a dud of a performance against a Cavaliers team that has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s not great that this happens. Obviously, it’s not great, the ramifications of the punishment. And it’s not great from the big picture,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after practice on Wednesday, per the Toronto Sun. “I think those things happen in such a weird fashion. It isn’t like, ‘Jeez, I told him before the game not to do that.’ That’s not really the way it works.”
As for the actual game, the Raptors completely bombed in the second-half, getting outscored by 21 points. The Raptors shot a combined 28.2 percent from 3-point land and went 10-of-17 from the free throw line. They also turned the ball over 20 times.
Kawhi Leonard had a team-high 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists, while Pascal Siakam finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kyle Lowry had 14 points, five rebounds and six assists in the 126-101 loss.
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after a straight up loss of more than 10 points
- Raptors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against teams in the NBA Pacific
- Under is 3-1-1 in Raptors last 5 games after a straight up loss of more than 10 points
- Under is 5-2 in Raptors last 7 home games against teams with a road winning % of less than .400
- Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game
- Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against teams in the NBA Atlantic
- Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest
- Lakers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against teams with a winning straight up record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Raptors looked like an absolute mess against the Cavaliers, and Ibaka has already been handed down a three-game suspension from the league. After losing three of their last five games, the Raptors are slowly losing the opportunity to overtake the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
They are still only three games out, but another loss against the Lakers at home would be a devastating blow to that goal. This is the beating on the chest kind of game for the Raptors after getting embarrassed on the road by the Cavaliers. They have an opportunity to beat up on a LeBron James-led Lakers team that has been a train wreck since January.
It’s bad enough the Lakers struggled beating the Bulls, but it’s even worse those struggles came with LaVine not even on the floor. James can always take over a game when necessary, but that won’t be so easy against Leonard, who is also one of the best players in the world. The Raptors are at home, and they need this game more than the Lakers. There are no playoffs in James’ future this year.
Give me the Raptors in this game.
Prediction: Toronto Raptors (-10)
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between the Lakers and Raptors. Brandon Ingram is gone, and James doesn’t have the firepower to put up a large scoring total against the Raptors, who rank among the best defenses in the league. They are only giving up an average of 107.9 points per game at home. Take the under in this game.
Prediction: Under (231)