Anthony Davis shone against the Clippers on Thursday – will the Raptors be able to slow him down? Photo by @taylorcsnow (Twitter).
- Los Angeles Lakers got the better of the Clippers on Thursday – they face the Toronto Raptors in their second seeding game
- With the Boston Celtics in pursuit, the Raptors are looking to cling on to the two seed in the East
- Get the latest odds, betting discussion and a pick below
The Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers, the teams owning the third and second-best records in the NBA respectively, matchup on August 1 in Orlando.
It will be Toronto’s first competitive game in the bubble – they are competing for the two seed with the Boston Celtics to gain a potentially more favorable first-round matchup. The Lakers were in action on Thursday, playing out an epic with the Clippers and eventually coming out on top, thanks to a big night from Anthony Davis.
FanDuel’s latest Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers odds have the Lakers as 3.5-point favourites – what’s the best bet?
Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline Odds at Fanduel||Total|
|Toronto Raptors||+3.5 (-110)||+136||O 215.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-3.5 (-110)||-162||U 215.5 (-110)|
Odds taken July 31
The non-LeBron minutes have been a problem this season. A lack of ball handling has hampered them offensively when James sits. With the Clippers surging, Anthony Davis took charge, playing the five on Thursday night, hitting consecutive treys to halt the Clippers’ run, and playing his Defensive-Player-of-the-Year-best at the other end.
With the floor spread and everyone a threat from deep, Davis was given space to work and he showed his range of scoring, but it was the spell without LeBron that was perhaps most impressive.
34 for AD ‼️💪@AntDavis23’s game-high 34 PTS guide the @Lakers to victory in their Orlando opener against LAC!
#LakeShow #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/cx8HXJoSqM
— NBA (@NBA) July 31, 2020
Toronto owns the second-best defensive rating in the NBA. They have size and a variety of options to throw at Davis. He was the Lakers’ main force in their loss to the Raps back in November, scoring 27 points on 50% shooting. Davis hit the ground running – how Toronto guard him will be key part of this matchup.
Nick Nurse is unafraid to try things. His boldness, and effectiveness from those decisions, makes him a frontrunner for Coach of the Year. He tried out some big lineups in the scrimmage games, putting Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol on the court at the same time.
That is one method to combat Davis. He will bully smaller players in the post or simply shoot over them. His mobility is a factor too, of course, but size is crucial, and throwing that Raptors’ trio on the floor is one way to go. Going big makes sense against the Lakers – for large portions of the game, they will be playing one of their centers (JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard), Davis and LeBron. A back court with Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet might need the size of Siakam, Ibaka and Gasol.
I’m a little behind but not crazy about that Gasol-Ibaka-Siakam lineup for Raps.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) July 28, 2020
Toronto don’t boast individual elite defenders. They are a defensive unit that is superbly coached and has no weak links. It is no fluke that they are the best non-Milwaukee team by defensive rating.
The Raps will be looking to slow Davis and LeBron down, challenging the scoring depth of this Lakers roster. Dion Waiters is competing for minutes in the playoff rotation, and after a strong performance against the Clips, Frank Vogel will no doubt be keen to see if he can back that up.
Rust was evident on the offensive for the Lakers at times on Thursday. There were plenty of turnovers, James struggled from the field, and they had periods where they struggled to get good looks. The Clippers defended well, and the same can be expected of Toronto.
LeBron clamps Kawhi and Paul George in the final seconds.
That’s championship defense. pic.twitter.com/y6PnIUOvBV
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 31, 2020
These are not just two of the top three by record, they are two of the top three defensively. Both are middle of the pack in pace. Toronto are 14th in offense and are playing their first competitive game in four months.
Defense could dominate offense in this weekend’s game – a low-scoring encounter is likely.
Pick: Under 215.5 points (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.