Over the last 5 years the Lakers have had no success finding an answer for the Toronto Raptors. This was true in both Toronto and Los Angeles and it seems to be the case in Orlando as well. The Raptors were able to claim a 107-92 victory over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (50-15). It took 145 days but Toronto has extended their win streak to 5 games. They sit at 2nd in the Eastern Conference with a 47-18 record. With the Milwaukee Bucks (54-12) looking to clinch the first seed in Sunday’s game, the Raptors only have to hold their position.

Raptors Playoff Forecast

Toronto was one of the teams to clinch a playoff position before the NBA’s hiatus. As it stands they would face the hometown Orlando Magic (31-35) in a rematch of last year’s first round. Last year saw the Magic fall 4-1 to the Raptors in the playoffs. The trend continues this season, as the Raptors have handily beaten the Magic in all 3 meetings. They look to finish the sweep on August 5th going for 8 straight wins against Orlando. The Raptors have swept 13 teams during the 2019-20 regular season.

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Keeping ‘The King’ in Check

The Raptors seem to have all the answers against LeBron James this season. The Superstar has looked relatively pedestrian when faced against Toronto’s impeccable defence. He did secure a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds but his elite passing was kept in check, with only 6 assists in the contest. His average of 25.5 points on the season plummets to 16.5 when faced against ‘The North’. His All-Star running mate Anthony Davis also found little success. ‘The Brow’ was held to 14 points and 6 assists with a lowly 9 shot attempts.

Lacklustre Bench Play

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The bench is usually an extremely formidable aspect of the Raptors play. That was not the case in last night’s win. Totalling only 11 points in 68 combined minutes of play is unimpressive. Norman Powell‘s 8 points on 25% (3/12) shooting led the charge and it simply got worse from there. Offensively the bench looked unfocused and simply could not get a shot to fall. They made up for it on the defensive end, anchored by Serge Ibaka‘s paint protection. Ibaka had two blocks in the contest.

Championship Pedigree Pitbull

Kyle Lowry came to play. The perennial All-Star was the best player on the court last night. His 33 points was a game-high by far and came on 50% (8/16) shooting and he made 55.6% (5/9) of his threes. It is not often that the shortest player on the court has a game-high 14 rebounds but Lowry was able to dominate against the Lakers massive front court. His vision was also apparent as he dished out 6 assists in the contest.

Up Next for the Raptors

Toronto looks to extend their win streak to 6 games against the Miami Heat (42-24) on Monday August 3rd at 1:30 PM/EST. The Heat have had the Raptors’ number all season, with their versatile offence and scrappy defence. This match looks to be a scrappy grind it out match between two high-profile teams.

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