After earning a close win Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime, 101-99, the Los Angeles Lakers continued their five-game road trip, as they faced the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors (42-30) clinched a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference Wednesday and looked to clinch the Atlantic division title for the second straight year, hoping to lock in a fourth-seed spot over the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers (19-51), who are already out of playoff contention for another season, hoped to come out victorious against a strong solid team.
The last time the two teams met, the Lakers defeated the Raptors 129-122 in overtime Nov. 30 at the Staples Center.
With another lineup change earlier this week, along a historic moment with Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson, the first Asian-American starting backcourt, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill remained on the sideline once again against the Raptors, in hopes for a different feel and vibe on the court.
The duo of Lin and Clarkson, combine for an average of 44 points. Lin averaged 22.3 points on 53.7 percent shooting in his previous three games.
Head coach Byron Scott also returned to sidelines and joined the team, after missing the previous two games of the trip, as he attended his mother’s funeral.
Clarkson started the game off with two shots, a floater off the glass and a put back, to give the Lakers a 4-2 lead over the Raptors early in the quarter. Lin then scored five straight points, a shot behind the arc and two free throws, to give the Lakers a three-point lead, 9-6. Amir Johnson put up a shot through the middle to get the Raptors within two. Midway through the first, Lin stayed hot, shooting his second three in the game, to put the Lakers up by five, 16-11. With 4:54 left, Patrick Patterson assisted Johnson to get the Raptors within two. Less than two minutes to go in the first, Ed Davis sank in two free throws, as the Lakers led the Raptors by six, 20-14. Toronto continued to miss shots, as the Lakers took advantage of that, going on an 8-0 run. Robert Sacre managed to get his own rebound and put in a shot, extending the lead to 10. The Lakers held the Raptors in the first, 24-17, heading into the second.
The Raptors started the second quarter with back-to-back shots to get within three, 24-21. James Johnson made in a jumper in attempts to cut the Raptors deficit, but Wayne Ellington hit a three-pointer, 31-25, Lakers lead. Jonas Valanciunas was left open in the paint for an easy dunk for the Raptors. A three-pointer by Louis Williams cut the deficit to two, 32-30. James Johnson made in a dunk to tie the game at 34 and Sacre answered back with an offensive rebound and a dunk of his own, Lakers led midway through the second, 36-34. Valanciunas sank in two free throws, as Toronto took their first lead of the game, 42-40. Both teams continued to battle it out on the court with missed shots and turnovers in their attempts to take the lead and break the tie. With less than a minute to go in the second, Davis with the dunk from an assist by Lin, 48-44. The Lakers headed into the third with a two-point lead, 48-46.
With an up and down first half and shooting 40 percent from the field, the Lakers attempted to keep their momentum going heading into the third. Terrence Ross put in a jump shot to cut the Lakers lead to two, 50-48. Ryan Kelly answered back with a layup. Ross put up a shot behind the arc to tie the game at 54. Kelly again with the answer back with a three-pointer, as the shot clock expired, Lakers up by three. Midway through the third, a fade away jumper by Ross followed by a three-pointer by Greivis Vasquez gave the Raptors a four-point lead, 61-57. Patterson with a jump shot from the left, extended Toronto’s lead to five. Jabari Brown drove through the middle for a layup, but the Lakers trailed by four, 66-62. With less than a minute to go, Williams put in a shot behind the arc, as the Raptors extend the lead, 71-64. The Lakers battled it out, but headed into the fourth down by five.
DeMar DeRozan scored his first points of the game at the free-throw line to start the four quarter. Robert Sacre hit the cutting Wayne Ellington with a slick pass in the paint resulting in a made layup. Jeremy Lin connected on the jumper bringing his total to 14 points cutting the lead to six. Amir Johnson hit an easy bucket in the paint which is countered by Ed Davis on the other end. Johnson connected on a jumper. DeRozan put another two points on the board extending the lead to 10. Tarik Black headed to the line for two. Missed the first and the second. Lou Williams hit a jump to give the Raptors a 12-point lead. Tyler Hansbrough drew the foul and headed to the line. Hansbrough hit the first and missed the second. Johnson nailed a three to give Toronto a 16-point lead. Williams continued to put up the points with another basket Wes Johnson hit a pair of free throws. Black went to the line once again after getting thrown to the ground by Hansbrough. Black hit both free throws. Lin hit a jumper. Williams connected on another jumper. Clarkson draws headed charity stripe. Hit the first and the second. Lin drove to the basket and finished at the rim. Lakers fall to the Raptors, 94-83.[divide]