The Toronto Raptors went up against the L.A. Lakers last night at the Staples Center.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet continued to be reliable sources on both ends of the court. Siakam came through with 24 points and 11 boards. Steady Freddy scored 23 points of his own, had seven rebounds and 10 assists. Norman Powell also rose to the occasion last night and put up 14 points.
The Raptors, without Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, needed to dig deeper for the win last night. So far this season, Nick Nurse has put forth a seven man lineup with the occasional appearance of an inexperience bench unit.
This week, Nurse will have no other choice than to look to his bench for the way through the next couple games.
Chris Boucher, Terence Davis II and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all showed up last night and put up some impressive numbers. The bench accounted for 43 points, which is easily their best performance so far this season.
Looking ahead to the next week or so on the road, the Raptors should use the momentum and energy that they have accumulated. Tonight’s game against the Clippers will be another tough matchup.
This is the first time the Raptors will face Kawhi Leonard since he signed with the Clippers over the summer. Leonard is currently averaging 29 PPG. Lou Williams is also putting up some impressive numbers this year, averaging 22.4 PPG. The sixth man of the year and former Toronto Raptor leads the bench unit, and has a serious playmaking mentality.
The keys to the game tonight:
- Use the defensive strength – the Raptors have the Clippers beat on the defensive end. Maintaining the things that we already do well will be crucial in surviving this week on the road.
- Get the bench unit hot – The bench should aim to be as good (or better) than they were last night. With two veterans out for at least a couple weeks, we need our depth to be there. I’m not expecting a 2015/16 bench, but I think it’s reasonable to expect the Bench to be a solid option to give the starters a breather.
- Control the Clippers on the offensive end – This one speaks for itself. The Raptors offence needs to be sharp and everyone needs to chow up to pull out a win.
The Raptors tip off tonight against the Clippers tonight at 10:30 EST.