No Bynum? No problem. Kobe Bryant's 61 points against the Knicks Monday night set a new MSG record. Now the Lakers travel across the border to Toronto to meet the Raptors.
With the Super Bowl aside and March Madness betting still a ways away, the NBA becomes the main focus of the sporting world right now. On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will head to Canada to face the Raptors for the second time this season. The Lakers won the previous meeting on 112-99 on November 30.
Wednesday night’s game will be a little different as the Lakers will be without center Andrew Bynum, who will miss the next two to three months with a tear in his MCL. Bynum went for 18 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting. With Bynum out, the Lakers are expected to lean more heavily on Lamar Odom, which should make the veteran content.
The Lakers are a team with a lot of depth and while most teams would love to have that much talent on their bench, the Lakers have a lot of egos and personalities that are angling for more minutes.
Sasha Vujacic, who played regular minutes, hasn’t been content with his bench role this season, Vladimir Radmanovic, who started at times last year, also isn’t pleased with his shortened role, and also Odom, a veteran who could start for most teams, has been miffed since he was asked to come off the bench this year.
With Bynum out, Odom’s role will increase. Odom has averaged 26.9 minutes per game coming off the bench but in his first start on Monday, Odom played 38 minutes and record a season-high 14 rebounds.
The Raptors have been struggling all season but their most recent stretch is a cause for concern. They have lost 10 of their last 13 games after Cleveland bumped them off on Tuesday, 101-83, but more of a problem was the way they were losing. Interestingly enough, even in that rough, dark stretch of play, the Raptors reeled off a season-high three-game winning streak. But they followed that up with a home loss to Milwaukee and another ugly home loss to the Magic, 113-90.
The biggest problem with their loss to the Magic was the concern that the team is already throwing in the towel. The season is only 50 games in and the Raptors look like they are completely disinterested.
Considering the Raptors have already fired their head coach, they might not have any more bullets to fire. General Manager Bryan Colangelo is feeling the heat and he might be the next to go unless he makes a big trade soon.
Look for the Lakers to take it to the Raptors on Wednesday night. Even though the Raptors are at home their head just isn’t in the game right now.
Free Pick: Lakers -8 (-110)