Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers host the Toronto Raptors Sunday night. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The desperate Toronto Raptors visit Lakers Sunday night
- LeBron James returned from ankle sprain Friday, questionable vs Raptors
- Get the latest Raptors vs Lakers odds, betting preview and a pick below
The Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers need wins, for two very different reasons – and that should make for an intriguing Sunday night matchup in LA.
The Raptors are running out of games in pursuit of Washington and that final East play-in spot, while the Lakers are just a mini-skid away from falling out of the locked playoff spots and into a play-in themselves in the West.
To make matters worse for LA, it appears LeBron James, who just returned from a 20-game absence Friday in a loss to the Kings, might not be available for this one.
Raptors vs Lakers Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Toronto Raptors||+6 (-110)||+205||TBD|
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6 (-110)||-250||TBD|
Odds as of May 1. Tipoff is Sunday at 10pm ET
Lakers Teetering on Play-In
What a difference an ankle sprain makes.
Since LeBron James went down with his injury, the Lakers have been scuffling along, going 8-12 minus the 2020 Finals MVP. His return was both a welcome sight and a surprise. If the Lakers had been able to better weather the storm, it was likely LeBron wouldn’t be so urgently needed.
“As far as my wind, I felt pretty good. As far as my ankle, it was a little tight at times… as the games go on that will continue to improve.” @KingJames talks post-game about his first game back and the focus heading to the final 9 games. pic.twitter.com/e1oiyWITtc
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) May 1, 2021
But they enter play Sunday tied for fifth with the Dallas Mavericks — which drops them to sixth, as the Mavs own the tiebreaker between the two teams. They’re just a game up on Portland, and if the Blazers pass them, LA would be forced into the play-in.
The Lakers looked rusty, out of sync and inconsistent in a 110-106 loss to Sacramento. The good news is their defense is still strong, and James had a three-pointer for the go-ahead points that didn’t connect in the final seconds.
Volvió LeBron James 👑 sumando además bastantes minutos desde el 5 inicial, pero a los Lakers no les dio para ganar a Sacramento Kings
16 PTS – 8 REB – 7 AST – 50% TC – 5 PÉR pic.twitter.com/rgNzIiuXFE
— NBAclubESP (@NBAclubESP) May 1, 2021
LBJ finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting, to go along with eight boards and seven assists, but he also committed five turnovers. He’s officially listed as questionable against the Raptors. Given the circumstances, it would be surprising if James wasn’t a go.
Perhaps more encouraging was the play of Anthony Davis, who led the team with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. In the five games since returning, he’s averaged just 17.4 points and 6.2 rebounds on a dismal 41% from the field and 20% from three-point range.
Dennis moves in silence, AD does not.
(📺: @SpectrumSN, NBA TV) pic.twitter.com/Vn8qMvzJey
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 1, 2021
It was also the first time Andre Drummond played with both LA superstars since coming over in the buyout season, and you could see James trying to incorporate the big man, while Davis and Drummond figured out spacing. The other AD had 17 points and seven boards.
Toronto Out of Time
This is an unforgiving stretch for the Raptors as they try to make up ground on the 10th-place Wizards in the East. They missed a golden opportunity Saturday night, dropping a 106-102 decision to the Utah Jazz, the same night the Wizards were stopped 125-124 by the Dallas Mavericks. Toronto just hasn’t had that final push to close out games lately.
The Raptors went into the 4th quarter of the Brooklyn game up by 3 points.
They went into the 4th of the Denver game down by 2.
They went into the 4th of tonight’s game vs Utah up by 4.
Raptors in the 4th quarter of those games: -32 (outscored 91-59).
The result: 3 losses.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 2, 2021
The Raptors now sit three games back of Washington with eight games to play. They have a head-to-head with Washington, but they’ve got to contend with both LA teams before then, and that game might not have much value if Toronto doesn’t sweep Staples.
28 Pts | 7 Ast | 5 Reb | 2 Stl pic.twitter.com/iZ44qJVIsh
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 2, 2021
Fred VanVleet had 30 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the loss, while the OG Anunoby and Khem Birch each had 17 points. Birch added 10 rebounds.
As has been the theme much of the year, the Raptors weren’t able to field a full lineup. Gary Trent Jr was out with a leg contusion and Chris Boucher is still out with a knee sprain. Kyle Lowry was given the night off for rest.
FOX Bet Promo Gives NBA Bettors Crazy 10-1 Odds on Lakers Simply Scoring a Point Against Nuggets
What’s the Best Bet?
It’s always a dicey proposition betting on the Lakers when LeBron might not be in the lineup. But just as in their first meeting, a 110-101 Lakers win without either James or Davis, LA’s defense should be able to land them a W. If they can get any sort of production out of AD like they did last time out, they should be all right.
Toronto is 10-21 on the road this year, and 12-19 ATS. Expect the Lakers to improve on their 33-13 mark as a favorite this year.
The pick: Lakers -5 (-110)
This article contains links to external sports betting services. SBD may receive advertising revenue from these links, however editorial has hand-picked each individual link based on relevance to the article, without influence on the coverage.
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.