Banged-up Raptors head to LA to face Lakers


The Toronto Raptors already looked to have their hands full with a matchup against the streaking Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday. Then two of their top performers went down with injuries in the club’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

Guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors’ second-leading scorer at 21.8 points per game, sustained a fracture in his left thumb in the first quarter, and forward Serge Ibaka went down with a severe right ankle sprain in the second quarter.

Lowry will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the club announced Saturday. Ibaka, who was wearing a walking boot after the game, is out indefinitely.

“It was a Derrick Favors offensive rebound. I swiped down on the ball and it felt weird from the rip,” said Lowry, referring to the Pelicans power forward. Lowry finished with six points and five assists in 16 minutes. “I kept playing through it and kept playing through it. Originally, we thought it was something in the nail bed because the nail bed turned black and blue.”

Nonetheless, Pascal Siakam tied a career-high with 44 points as the visiting Raptors rolled past the Pelicans 122-104. Siakam, the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season, connected on 17 of 28 shots from the floor, including 5 of 10 3 pointers as Toronto earned its fifth win in its past six contests. Siakam also had 10 rebounds.

Despite the loss of NBA Finals’ MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers via free agency and forward Danny Green departing for the Lakers, the defending champion Raptors have been one of the top clubs in the league. But the Lakers have been the best thus far, having won seven straight contests and are tied for the NBA’s best record at 7-1. The Lakers haven’t lost since a season-opening setback to the Clippers.

The Lakers posted a 95-80 win over the visiting Miami Heat on Friday. Anthony Davis had 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead Los Angeles. Davis, second in the league in blocked shots, recorded three blocks and two steals against Miami.

LeBron James added 25 points and six assists. No other Los Angeles players reached double figures.

James had 12 of his points in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers to pull away. The Heat closed to within 78-71 in the fourth after trailing by as much as 14 in the third. But a 14-6 spurt, capped by consecutive 3-pointers by James, sealed the deal for the Lakers.

“I think he picks his spots on when to be assertive and when to play for his teammates,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Throughout all that while he is picking his spots, he’s going to be in attack mode. He is going to read the defense.”

The Raptors are in the midst of a five-game road swing. They will clash with Leonard and the Clippers on Monday before games at the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday and the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

–Field Level Media