Lakers at Toronto Raptors preview

The Lakers look to pick up another road win Friday against the Toronto Raptors

The Lakers (19-51) are looking for their third win in four tries on Friday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors (42-30).

The Raptors have already clinched a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, but are hoping to climb from the fourth seed -- while holding off the fifth-place Washington Wizards (40-32).

Toronto has struggled of late, with Kyle Lowry sidelined with a back injury. The All-Star guard is questionable on Friday.

For the Lakers, Nick Young is out with a knee injury, while Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder), Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back) are all done for the season.

Key matchup

If Lowry does return to action, he's averaging 17.4 points and 6.9 assists a game, driving the Raptors' offense.

Without him, the Lakers will have to deal with a solid substitute in Greivis Vasquez, who scored 22 on Wednesday in a loss to the Chicago Bulls. Reserve Guard Lou Williams is another explosive scorer.

The Lakers are relying heavily on Jordan Clarkson at guard, along with Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington and Jabari Brown.

X-factor

DeMar DeRozan is leading the Raptors in scoring at 19.4 points a game.

The USC product is more of a scorer than a true shooter, hitting 40.2% from the field and just 26.5% from three-point range.

The Lakers are probably best served with Wesley Johnson guarding DeRozan, although Ellington, Brown and Clarkson may all get a crack defensively.

Outlook

The Raptors have a lot to play for, and while the Lakers have been competitive of late, Toronto should be able to protect their home court on Friday.

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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