After two weeks away from home, the Lakers played their final game on the seven-game road trip. The final match-up was against the team north of the border, the Toronto Raptors. The Lakers won their previous four games, and they were hoping to go 6-1 away from Staples Center. In their previous game in Toronto, the Lakers lost the game after a desperation heave by Kobe Bryant. The best way to put a stamp on the trip was to “blowout” the struggling Raptors.
Luckily for the Lakers, Raptors’ stars Andrea Bargnani and Sonny Weems did not play due to various injuries. Despite the absence of the leading scorers, the Raptors were finding success on the offense end of the court. They were matching the Lakers’ every move and five minutes into the game, the Raptors had a two point lead, 13-11.
The Raptors were not willing to fall victim to the champions, and they continued to outplay the Lakers. The Raptors were playing great defense, and they were doing a terrific job limiting Kobe Bryant to outside shots. Toronto ended the first quarter on a 12-5 run, and they headed to bench with a 34-28 lead. The Lakers committed six turnovers in the period and they only had three total assists.
The Lakers were in desperate need of a spark, and they had to find continuity in their offense. The “Killer Bs” usually brought instant offense for the Lakers, and today was no different. The Lakers worked themselves back from a six point deficit, and turned it into a three point lead. At the half-way point of the second quarter, the Lakers were on top 44-41.
The Lakers’ starters were inserted back into the game, and they helped expand the lead. The Lakers started to pound the ball inside, and they were getting most of their points at the free-throw line. Despite 10 turnovers in the first half, the Lakers had an eight point lead, 57-49, going into the locker-room. The team’s leading scorers were Gasol ten with points and Kobe Bryant with nine points.
The Lakers came out of the locker-room focused, and they wanted to put away the Raptors for good. Kobe took over the game on the offensive end and his passes all had impeccable timing. The Lakers were hitting most of their shots, and Kobe was nailing jumpers from all over the court. At the 6:00 mark of the third quarter, the Lakers expanded their lead to nine, 73-64.
Despite the fact that the Lakers had a 16-point lead in the quarter, the Raptors climbed back into the game. At first it seemed as though the Lakers would easily win the game, but the Raptors went on a late surge and reduced their deficit. Going into the fourth quarter, the Lakers had a seven point lead, 86-79.
Phil Jackson started the quarter with his reserves on the floor, and they provided much needed energy. Shannon Brown was the catalyst to the Lakers’ run, and he helped bring to lead up to 15 with 9:53 left in the game.
The bench played the majority of the fourth quarter, and they relied on hustle and effort to win the game. Despite a diminutive run by the Raptors, the Lakers escaped Toronto with a victory.
The final buzzer rang and the Lakers were on top 120-110. The Lakers advanced to a record of 21-7 and they have gone 6-1 on their seven-game road trip. The team shot 52% from the field, and the leading scorer was Kobe Bryant with 20 points.
The Lakers will return to Staples Center on Tuesday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks at 10:30 P.M EST/ 7:30 P.M. PST.