The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled against the NBA’s best without their two superstars, but against everyone else, they are more than holding their own.
Seven Lakers scored in double-figures and the team hit 18 three-pointers as they cruised to a 110-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The victory improved their record to 32-19 as they remain right in the thick of an extremely tight race in the middle of the Western Conference.
The leading scorer on this night was Talen Horton-Tucker, who finished with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds. He operated more as a playmaker early on before turning up his offensive aggression in the second half as the Raptors tried to chip away at the lead.
Marc Gasol also had his best game in a Lakers uniform against his former team, finishing with a season-high 13 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks. The rebounds and blocks also tied season-highs for the Spaniard.
Early on the attention was on a first-quarter scuffle between the two teams that led to the ejection of Toronto’s OG Anunoby and the Lakers’ Montrezl Harrell. Following a foul from Dennis Schroder on Anunoby, the two remained tangled until Anunoby swept Schroder’s legs from under him. This caused Harrell to rush over to his teammate’s defense, shoving away a couple of Raptor players as the teams had to be separated.
While the Lakers had already pushed ahead by double-figures, this seemed to ignite them even more. They hit 13 of their 18 3-pointers in the first half and led by as many as 34 points.
Markieff Morris was solid once again with 15 points and nine rebounds while Schroder added 12 points, nine assists and two steals. Alex Caruso also had a big bounce-back game after struggling in his last few contests with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He also provided the highlight of the night, diving on the floor for the ball after forcing a steal and finding Devontae Cacok off his back for a layup.
Speaking of Cacok, the two-way player was called upon with Harrell ejected early and he came through with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Lakers shot 49.4% from the field and 45% from 3-point range as a team while holding Toronto to just 39.6% shooting. The only negative, as has been the case most of the year, was the turnovers as the Lakers gave the ball away 21 times.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers have an extremely difficult upcoming stretch ahead on their road trip that starts with a Finals rematch on Thursday against the Miami Heat. They will then take a trip to New York to take on the Brooklyn Nets in primetime on Saturday night and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
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