The Los Angeles Lakers road trip continued as they headed North to take on the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back. The big news for the Lakers was the unexpected announcement that Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell would come off the bench in favor of Larry Nance Jr. and Lou Williams.
The two teams have already met once before with the Raptors defeating the Lakers by 11 in Los Angeles.
The Raptors would not be at full strength as they were without two starters in DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas. They still were led by All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
After giving up a three to start the game, the Lakers would score the next nine points to take an early six point lead. The Lakers got off to a much better start than normal, making seven of their first nine baskets to take a 15-8 lead early on. The Raptors would respond with an 8-0 run to take a one-point lead. Julius Randle checked in and immediately got an offensive rebound and three-point play to put the Lakers right back ahead. Terrence Ross continued his hot start with a steal and a dunk as well as another three-pointer as the Raptors pulled ahead 23-18. Randle hit a tough shot in the paint, but the Lakers trailed 25-22 at the end of the quarter.
A pair of free throws from Robert Sacre got the Lakers on the board and a beautiful drive from Randle got the Lakers within a point. The Raptors would quickly get a little separation, going ahead by six thanks to free throws from Cory Joseph. Randle converted another and-one, but Lowry matched him with a three-pointer on the other end as Toronto remained ahead by five midway through the quarter. Lowry would continue his strong second quarter with five more points to give the Raptors a 10 point lead with five minutes remaining in the half. The Lakers would stay in the game and huge putback dunk from Larry Nance Jr. got them back within four. Two more threes from Lowry quickly put the Raptors back ahead by 10, but a nice drive from Kobe cut the deficit to eight. One last Lowry jumper gave the Raptors a 10 point lead at the half.
Larry Nance Jr. got off to a strong start with a block on defense, and an offensive rebound and layup on the other end. A three from Lou and a beautiful layup from Clarkson quickly got the Lakers within three points. Kobe got going with a fadeaway in the paint and a steal and layup. Derozan kept the Lakers at bay with a nice floater, but a pair of free throws from Kobe brought the Lakers within a point. The Raptors would increase the lead to six thanks to a couple of easy baskets from Biyombo. Both teams continued to trade baskets as a three from Metta World Peace brought the Lakers within five with two minutes remaining. A three-point play from Randle and back-to-back baskets from Russell tied the game at 71 with 30 seconds left in the quarter. Joseph hit a floater at the buzzer, but the review determined it was released after the buzzer leaving the game tied after three.
A basket from Joseph and a three-point play from Derozan put Toronto ahead, but Russell responded with a great drive to keep it a one possession game. A layup from Randle and a three from Russell tied the game, but a turnover led to a dunk for Ross as the Raptors stayed ahead by a basket. Kobe started to get going as he hit a short jumper and a tough corner three to keep the Lakers within two points. The Lakers were unable to keep it there, however as the Raptors responded with a 7-0 run capped off by an alley-oop from Lowry to Biyombo. The run continued as Lowry and Derozan hit jumpers to suddenly give the Raptors an 13 point cushion. At that point it was pretty much academic. Lou Williams hit a three, but it didn’t matter and Kobe got a massive standing ovation as he left the court with 25 seconds left. The Lakers would fall 102-93 to the Raptors.