Los Angeles Lakers: Jay Triano

Lakers at Raptors: Game prep, Canadian style

January, 24, 2010
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
Friday night against the Bucks, the Toronto Raptors effectively tweaked their game plan en route to a 101-96 win. From Raptors Republic:

The Raps were lucky that the game was even close midway through the 3rd when the unthinkable happened. (Coach) Jay Triano made a change to his hermetically sealed gameplan. Sensing the Bucks couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, and Luke Ridnour was penetrating into the pain at will, he switched to a zone, and it paid immediate dividends. The Bucks did eventually crack it a few times, but it definitely slowed them down a lot. The other thing Triano did was switch to a smaller lineup of (Chris) Bosh, (Hedo Turkoglu), (Marco Belinelli), Jose (Calderon) and (Jarrett) Jack late in the 4th. That move also proved to be effective...

Doesn't sound at all like a prescription for a squad to attack the Lakers, does it? Particularly one as bad defensively as the Raptors, who have the NBA's lowest defensive rating (112.7 points allowed per 100 possessions)? So with the Lakers heading into Air Canada Centre this afternoon (3 pm PT), expect Triano to deploy some of the same tricks against the purple and gold.

As it was Friday in New York, today's game is one L.A. should win win but isn't without pitfalls. Perhaps comforted by their exotic, ham-like bacon, delightfully kaleidoscopic local currency, and Tim Hortons, the 22-22 Raptors are 14-6 at home, and probably could be better if they still offended the sensibilities of visitors with these uniforms. Offensively, Triano's crew is among the more efficient in the league, scoring 108.4 points per 100 trips, good for fourth in the league, thanks in part to strong outside shooting. Five Raptors (Belinelli, Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani- called day to day with a sore back- Jack, and Calderon) shoot near or above 40% from downtown, and as a team, the Raptors are fifth in the NBA in 3-pt FG, at 37.1%.

If the Lakers let the porous Toronto defense off the hook by abdicating their own defensive responsibilities, they could be in for a long day. Clamp down a little, and I doubt the Raps will be able to keep the Lakers, who should have huge advantages in the paint and easier avenues to points, off the scoreboard enough to log the upset.

For more on the game, head to Forum Blue and Gold, Raptors Republic, and Raptors HQ.

UPDATE (11:47 am PT): Andy had a great exchange with Alt Raps over at Raptors Republic regarding Toronto's rotation, specifically with Calderon, Hedo, and Jack. More great information to tuck away before the tip. Click below the jump to read.

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0