Anthony Davis had another solid outing in his early Lakers career as he dropped 27 points and eight rebounds while James recorded his fourth triple-double of the season (13 points, 13 rebounds and 15 assists).
However, the All-Star duo could not overcome a shorthanded Raptors team that played with good energy and pace the entire night. Even with Los Angeles going up early, Toronto continued to fight back and were able to win thanks to some easy transition opportunities and clutch three-point shooting.
Following the game, James admitted the Lakers are still a work in progress.
“That’s all we’re trying to do. We want to win basketball games, but I don’t think anything gets lost with us cause we’re not a complacent team and we’re kind of even-keeled,” James shared.
“Obviously, we hate to lose, but they were the better team and we just move on to the next one and see ways we can get better tomorrow in the film session. But nothing was masked, there’s still ways for us to be better. We know that. We’re a really good team but we want to get even better.”
Los Angeles has often eased up on opponents after building up big leads and the game against Toronto was no different as they went up by as much as 11 points in the first half before seeing that lead quickly evaporate in the second half. The Raptors came into the game as one of the league leaders in pace and transition scoring and they showed that off throughout the night, routinely pushing the ball up the floor and putting pressure on a backpedaling Laker defense.
James has been nearly unstoppable on drives to the basket this season, but he was stymied several times against the Raptors as they packed the paint and were able to contest him at the rim. As a result, the 34-year-old shot a paltry 5-of-15 from the field, a credit to an active Toronto defense.
Even with the loss, the Lakers are still 7-2 and atop the Western Conference standings but like James mentioned, they still have several areas they can definitely improve on.
Hopefully, they clean up their transition defense and remain engaged for the entirety of their next matchup against the Phoenix Suns.