Raptors get predictable big boost ahead of Lakers matchup

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors
Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors are meeting for the second time on Tuesday night in vastly different positions. Los Angeles is fighting tooth and nail for better playoff seeding as the team looks to make a run in the NBA Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Raptors are already preparing for the 2024 NBA Draft and the future of the team.

As such, this game means a lot more for the Lakers than the Raptors. Heading into Tuesday's game, the Lakers are 1.5 games back of the Sacramento Kings for the eighth seed and two games back of the Phoenix Suns of the seventh seed.

With only seven games remaining, it is imperative that the Lakers rack up the wins where they can. Against a bad Raptors team, Tuesday's game should be a walk in the park. However, it is still a road game, and in classic Lakers fashion, the Raptors are getting reinforcements right ahead of the matchup.

Raptors expected to get RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley back vs Lakers

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley were both out of action for personal reasons. Both players suffered losses in their families, and understandably took time away from playing to be with their families.

On a human level, it is great to see both Quickley and Barrett back in the fold and doing the thing that they love. On a Lakers level, it is yet another example of a team getting reinforcements right in time to play the purple and gold.

This has been a trend for the Lakers this season as Los Angeles has battled injuries of its own. There have been several instances throughout this season where LA's opponent had a significant return(s) that ended up impacting the outcome of the game.

All that being said, the Raptors are still pretty short-handed and should be a team that the Lakers take care of in a comfortable fashion on Tuesday night. Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl and Gary Trent Jr. all are not suiting up for the Raptors on Tuesday. Barrett and Quickley are big boosts, but they alone shouldn't beat this Lakers team.

If this game was in December and there was not as much to play for then the Lakers may have "taken the night off" and suffered a surprising loss to Toronto. But with every single game mattering a ton down the stretch, Los Angeles absolutely cannot afford to lose this one against an inferior team.