The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors in nearly every category on the stat sheet last night: rebounding (43 to 40), points in the paint (40 to 36), second chance points (15 to 8), fast break points (20 to 11), three-pointers made (15 to 10), assists (19 to 18), steals (7 to 5) and committed a season-low eight turnovers. Yet, the Lakers added another loss to their record column (12-25) and their 15th loss in their past 17 games.
The only categories the Raptors had on the Lakers last night were made field goals (42 to 37), made free throws (29 to 25) and blocked shots.
“When you look at those major categories, you wonder how we don’t win that game,” head coach Luke Walton said at Monday’s practice. “That means we’re doing things right. Unfortunately, it turned into another loss, but there’s obviously positives to take out of that, more positives than negatives I’d say.”
It was yet another game of the Lakers giving up a double-digit lead, something that has continued to plague this Lakers squad. On Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers built up another 11-point lead in the second quarter, only to blow it in the third and lose by 12.
During their seven-game road trip, the Lakers blew consecutive 19-point leads against both Miami and Orlando. The Lakers haven’t had a problem getting up to big leads, but they have had a serious problem maintaining them.
“It’s a matter of maintaining it, and that’s where the maturity comes from,” Tarik Black said on Monday. “Older teams and guys who are experienced, they understand how to maintain it, and that’s what we’re gaining right now is the knowledge and wisdom to maintain it.”
Thomas Robinson said last night’s stat sheet was certainly an indicator that the Lakers are heading in the right direction.
“Coach told us today that 25 of our games, we had double-digit leads, that goes to say right there that we’ve been doing the right things for most parts of the game, we’ve just got to finish it,” Robinson said. “Young or not, that’s impressive, if we know we’re getting there. It’s just about getting over the hill and finishing those games. Our record could be a lot different right now.”
The Memphis Grizzlies come into town on Tuesday night at Staples Center. Against the Raptors, both Robinson and Black got time on the floor together in the second unit, combining for 21 points and 18 rebounds. As long as Black’s ankle is feeling healthy, Walton says expect those two to see plenty of floor time together tomorrow to match up with a big Memphis team who always crashes the glass.