Raptors eye third straight win when Lakers visit

NBA Basketball

The Toronto Raptors have a chance to win three consecutive games for the first time since mid-February when they play the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night at Tampa.

Gary Trent Jr. made a 3-point shot at the buzzer Monday night to give the Raptors their second win in a row, 103-101 over the visiting Washington Wizards.

The Raptors had not won two in a row since a four-game win streak Feb. 16-21.

The Lakers, who won the 2020 NBA championship, and the Raptors, who won the title in 2019, have both endured injuries lately.

The Lakers continue to play without two key stars, LeBron James (high ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (strained calf) as they begin a five-game trip away from Staples Center.

The Raptors were without key guards Kyle Lowry (foot) and Fred VanVleet (hip) on Monday, and Trent helped fill the void with 16 points.

Trent and Rodney Hood (out with a hip flexor strain) were obtained for Norman Powell in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers on March 25.

Trent has been impressive. He scored a career-best 31 points Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With Jalen Harris (hip), Patrick McCaw (knee), and Paul Watson Jr. (health and safety protocols) also out, the Raptors had nine players available on Monday.

“Hopefully we’ll get a guy or two back here during the week,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It’s all day-to-day stuff. I don’t know. I mean, if we can spread these nine guys out here a little bit. A lot of ’em have been looking for more minutes and playing time, and here it is. So I think we should be okay.

“The only thing I always worry about is what if something else happens? Then you’re really getting thin. You’re at the kind of breaking point right now, and so we’ve gotta stay healthy once the ball goes up,” Nurse said.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel is not certain when James and Davis will return.

“They’ll both be on the road with us, and AD continues to ramp up but is still a ways away, and LeBron is still out indefinitely,” Vogel said Sunday.

Recently acquired center Andre Drummond has missed two games with a bruised big toe that had the nail torn off.

“He’s still having trouble putting his shoe on, you know, the first two days through it,” Vogel said. “He’s just not there yet. He’s still in a great deal of discomfort and we want to make sure that this thing gets behind him.”

Wesley Matthews (strained neck) also missed the game Sunday as the Lakers scored their season low in points in a 104-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Montrezl Harrell had 19 points and Talen Horton-Tucker contributed 16, both coming off the bench. Former Raptor Marc Gasol led the Lakers’ starters with 11 points.

“I think where we’re at, we just have to play the right way on the offensive end,” said Kyle Kuzma, who scored six points Sunday. “Defensively, we’ll be all right. We’ll compete, challenge most opponents. But offensively, we’ve got to find ways to play together and put points on the board. You can’t win games scoring in the 80s and 90s.

“We’ve got to figure out ways to incorporate everyone and everyone gets the ball, touch it, have opportunities to score,” Kuzma said.

–Field Level Media

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