The Los Angeles Lakers lost 107-92 to the Toronto Raptors in their second seeding game in another matchup marred by offensive struggles.
The Lakers defeated the L.A. Clippers last Thursday with the defensive effort making up for their shortcomings on the other end of the court. But Toronto, the defending champions who have been perennially underrated after losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, took advantage of the Lakers’ poor shooting and were in control for the majority of the game.
The Raptors successfully contained All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who chalked up only 34 points combined. Against the Clippers, Davis scored 34 points alone while James added another 16 and orchestrated the team’s defense throughout the game.
“They won a championship last year, they’re a great defense, it was a good test for us,” Vogel said of Toronto. The Lakers have now fallen to the Raptors in 11 consecutive games. But Vogel still managed to find positives despite his team suffering their first seeding-game loss in Orlando.
“I think we did some things better in this game than we did in that first game in terms of moving the basketball,” he added. “A lot of times you do it the right way but don’t punish the double-team. I thought our spacing was better at times. Just didn’t capitalize.”
James stressed the Lakers have to focus on defense while finding their offensive rhythm back following the victory over the Clippers. He reiterated on Saturday that shooting struggles were to be expected following the four-month break from competitive basketball.
But James is also confident the team is only going to get better as the Orlando experiment continues.
“We’ve been out for a while, and I think the game legs will continue to come as this AAU tournament continues to go on,” James said. “I’m not too worried about that. Our shooters shoot, and we’ve got some great guys that can make shots from the perimeter.
“I thought defensively we were really good. I thought offensively we got some very, very good looks. They just didn’t go down. Pretty OK with the way we performed.”
Lineup changes not in Vogel’s plans for now
Danny Green has particularly struggled on the perimeter, finishing the Toronto game 0-for-7 and making only two of the six shots he attempted against the Clippers. But Vogel is not considering changes to the starting lineup.
Instead, he prioritizes helping Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope getting comfortable with playing bigger roles in the light of Avery Bradley’s absence. “I want them both comfortable playing 20-plus minutes,” Vogel explained.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!