Preview: Lakers at Toronto Raptors

Preview: Lakers at Toronto Raptors
Lakers center Jordan Hill grabs an offensive rebound during a Dec. 8 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers (15-25) visit the Toronto Raptors (20-18) on Sunday morning.

Toronto beat the Lakers at Staples Center in early December, the day the team traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings.


Amir Johnson dominated with 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting.  DeMar DeRozan scored 26 while Kyle Lowry contributed 23.

Kobe Bryant made his season debut for the Lakers, before going down with a knee injury less than two weeks later.


None of the Lakers starters scored in double figures against the Raptors.  Nick Young was the team's leading scorer, with 19 off the bench.

With the victory, the Raptors improved to 7-12.  They've since won 13 of 19 while the injured Lakers dropped 15 of their next 20.

Key matchup

The Lakers simply can't let Johnson dominate the way he did in December.


The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 10.9 points a game.  He hasn't scored more than 19 points in a game since he had 32 against the Lakers.

Rookie Ryan Kelly is expected to make his first career start for the Lakers.

Kelly isn't a physical defender but with his outside shot, he should help the Lakers by spreading the floor for Pau Gasol.


Kendall Marshall hit the game-winning shot on Friday at Boston against the Celtics.  Though he hasn't been with the team long, Marshall has proved to be a very capable playmaker.

His shooting form isn't pretty, but he's hitting 46.9% of his attempts from three-point range.

His assist-to-turnover ratio is nearly 3-1, but he needs to cut down on his 3.2 turnovers per game.

Lowry is a strong scoring point guard.  He's averaging 16.2 points and 7.4 assists a game, along with 1.7 steals.


Both teams rely heavily on their starting point guards.


DeRozan is the Raptors' leading scorer, but the Lakers can absorb his 21.2 point-per-game average.

The Lakers can't let DeRozan get his numbers and allow Johnson and Lowry to have a big game.

The win in Boston was a big step for the Lakers, but there's no real reason to think they've broken out of the slump, at least not yet.


Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.