LOS ANGELES — Following an encouraging overtime win over the Washington Wizards, the Los Angeles Lakers fell short against the Toronto Raptors on Friday 101-92.
The Lakers got off to strong start holding a 26-19 edge at the end of the first quarter with that reaching up to 19 points in the second quarter. Meanwhile, their play defensively helped give them an advantage on the scoreboard as they forced Raptors to shoot 38.3 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from beyond the arc.
This included DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combining for 10 points on two of 12 shooting in the first half. Meanwhile, Los Angeles shot 55.3 percent from the field while holding a 36-26 edge in points in the paint.
However, Los Angeles once comfortable progressive dwindled down and was erased in the midway through the third quarter after a baseline jumper by DeRozan giving his team a 57-56 lead with 8:05 left in the period. From that point on, it was back and forth action between both teams trading the lead 15 times in the second half.
Toronto grabbed control of the game late with DeRozan scoring six straight points to break up a tied game and give his team an 89-83 edge with less than five minutes left in the game. Los Angeles struggled to close the game never getting closer than five points while Raptors finished on an 18-9 run.
It was the second unit head coach Luke Walton leaned on in the second half as he left the lack of commitment defensively in transition from the starters made the decision easy for him to go with the reserves.
“Some nights it’s the bench’s job to give you that or keep you around then you put the starters in and they are supposed to finish for you,” Walton said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get back on defense again.With four minutes in a winnable game, you can’t just give away free points.”
Los Angeles finished with four players in double figures with Kyle Kuzma recording his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebound while Julius Randle led the team in scoring with 18 points off the bench. Lonzo Ball on his 20th birthday had five points with six assists, and seven rebounds in the loss.
Despite the loss, Walton was quite encouraged by the manner in which the Lakers played defensively against a playoff-caliber team.
“We are going to keep playing,” Walton said. “I’m thrilled by the way we played tonight. We competed. We had a 17-point lead and we were winning in all the statistical categories except the dang turnovers. By the way they competed and fought defensive was really impressive and another good game they put together on the defensive end.
Bob Garcia IV
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