Once again, the Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to move above .500 for the first time in the 2012-2013 season.
L.A. made a remarkable comeback on Wednesday night to even up their record at 31-31. They trailed the New Orleans Hornets by as much as 25 points, but were able to pick up a six-point victory. Kobe Bryant finished with 42 points, including 13 in the final quarter.
On Friday night, the Lakers return to Staples Center to host the Toronto Raptors. The game is set to tip off at 10:30 p.m. eastern time. Viewers can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
Los Angeles may not currently be in the playoffs, but they have greatly improved since their slow start. The Lakers are 14-6 in their last 20 games, after starting the year at 17-25. The club’s recent run has put them 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
While the Lakers changed the look of their team in the offseason by trading for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Raptors made major changes during the season. Toronto moved Ed Davis and Jose Calderon in a three-team deal that netted them Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies.
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The trade hasn’t done much to help Toronto’s attempt to make the postseason. They are just 7-8 since the deal and remain 7.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Gay has given Toronto the No.1 scoring option they were looking for, but he has struggled to shoot well from the field. In 15 games with his new team, the forward is averaging 19.8 points per game on 39 percent field goal shooting.
It’s the second matchup of the season between these two teams. Toronto was victorious in the game on Jan. 20. Bryant scored just 26 points on 32 shots in the 108-103 loss. Pau Gasol scored 25 points, but will be out with a foot injury in this one.
Betting Line: Los Angeles-7.5, 207
Prediction: Los Angeles 102, Toronto 90