The Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to host the Toronto Raptors.

Despite a spirited effort by the Kings, the Lakers (as expected) left Sacramento with the win. Beating the Kings gave the Lakers their fifth straight win.

Kobe Bryant led the way with his 17th career triple-double by posting 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. Perhaps seeing the Black Mamba in attack mode will again serve as Kobe’s cease and desist letter to anyone questioning the health of his surgically repaired knee.

Kobe reached another career milestone when he passed the captain; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to become the Lakers franchise leader in minutes played. Kobe and Pau Gasol became the first pair of Lakers to score 20 points in the teams first five games since Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain did it for six games. Also, Lamar Odom has been on fire and has had his all around game on full display nightly.

The Purple and Gold split their two games with the Raptors last season. They lost Chris Bosh to free agency who posted a consistent 24 points and 11 rebounds. They can score, but won’t really get to where they want to be until the front office realizes that this is the NBA and not the Euro-League and acquires some players that can defend.

The defending Champion Lakers know that it’s all about their defense. They need to control the tempo and play at their pace, stop the dribble penetration of Jarrett Jack and Leandro Barbosa, and get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters. The Raptors have seven guys capable of knocked down shots from behind the arc.

The Lakers need to control the painted area and boards. They need to continue to run their offense through Pau Gasol. The dominance of their front line will continue. They’re playing their game when they’re running the triangle offense and using excellent ball movement and player movement find a high percentage shot and out-working their opponent.

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Toronto: Score (Matt Devlin & Jack Armstrong)

Radio

  • Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Toronto: FAN590 AM (Paul Jones & Eric Smith)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
  • Luke Walton (Strained Right Hamstring) Doubtful
  • Theo Ratliff (Sore Left Knee) Probable

Raptors:

  • PF Ed Davis (Right Knee Meniscus) Out