Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

The Los Angeles Lakers looked just plain ugly when they faced the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre back on Jan. 20, and they'll look to have vengeance now that the scene has shifted to the Staples Center.

The Lakers are no longer playing like an unbalanced squad with no identity, as they did against Toronto earlier in the season. They now have a fighting chance at clinching the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Entering this game, they are 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the No. 8 seed and have won three of four.

The Raptors are also No. 9 in their conference, though they are highly unlikely to make the postseason. They sit 7.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks, so their approach this game is likely going to be playing spoiler to Los Angeles and all other playoff hungry teams.

With a rowdy Staples Center crowd cheering them on, the Lakers are going to be out for a big win, not to mention revenge for an earlier loss.


Time: Friday, March 8, 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, TSN2

Records: Toronto Raptors (24-38) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (31-31)

Injuries: Jordan Hill (hip, out), Pau Gasol (foot, out), Mickael Pietrus (knee, out), Linas Kleiza (knee, day-to-day), via ESPN


Key Storyline: Los Angeles Seeks Vengeance for Ugly Performance in Toronto

As was previously mentioned, the Lakers visited the Raptors in January and looked just plain ugly. The team only lost 108-103, but how desperate and uninspired the team looked was obvious.

Kobe Bryant led with 26 points, but shot 10-of-32 from the field. That was more than twice as many attempts as any of his teammates.

It certainly didn't help Los Angeles that Dwight Howard was ejected from the game after receiving his second technical in the second quarter, and were it not for 25 points from Pau Gasol, Los Angeles like...

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