The Lakers clash with the Raptors in a potential NBA Finals preview on Saturday night. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors
Saturday, August 01, 2020 – 08:30 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James hit the go-ahead follow-up with 12.8 seconds left on Thursday's 103-101 win against the Clippers. We cashed the Under easily.
James locked up Kawhi Leonard and switched onto Paul George for the final stop. He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists in the victory but was just 6-for-19 from the field.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Dion Waiters provided a spark off the bench. Waiters had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and a team-best plus/minus (+/-) of +17.
Kyle Kuzma also played well for the second unit with 16 points and seven rebounds and he was 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.
After completing an 11-point comeback, the Lakers are now 13-11 when trailing by double-digits this season. That's the 5th-best win percentage in a single season when trailing by double digits over the last 10 years.
The Raptors might not be the favorites to win the NBA Championship heading into the Orlando bubble but their unique title defense has been among the best
The effort level and competitiveness displayed by this team on a nightly basis is admirable. The Raptors went 46-18, second in the Eastern Conference before the NBA restart and they have the fourth-best net rating and second-best defense.
This team has a deep roster with familiarity, chemistry and experience. Everyone is good to go. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry were all having outstanding seasons and we know what they're capable of in big games.
Serge Ibaka, Terence Davis II, OG Anunoby and Norman Powell all play their parts very well and Marc Gasol arrived to Orlando in the best shape of his life.
“We have guys who grew up in tough situations. We’re all coming from situations where we weren’t given a silver spoon,” Kyle Lowry told Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
The player to watch for this game is OG Anunoby (plus-1.8 Defensive Box Plus/Minus). His season was coming into focus and his importance to his team’s defense is unquestioned.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has said that he would like Anunoby to get a few more reps offensively, as teams will likely dare him to beat them. Anunoby will probably help guard LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma and those matchups can be the difference on Saturday.
The Lakers barely beat a Clippers team without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. The Raptors are healthier and rested. The play I like for my NBA picks is the Raptors +4 (-105) at Bovada. (Visit our Bovada Review).