The Los Angeles Lakers returned home looking to bounce back from their blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns, but unfortunately suffered the same fate to the Toronto Raptors, falling 114-103.
Scottie Barnes tore up the small ball Laker lineup by easily scoring over Malik Monk, while they themselves could not score and quickly fell behind 13-2. Toronto had their way in the paint as their wings scored over the top nearly every time and Los Angeles faced a 17-point deficit early.
Head coach Frank Vogel turned to his bench to hopefully find some production, but the offensive woes persisted and the Raptor lead only grew. Wenyen Gabriel provided a much-needed spark with his energy on both ends of the floor but Los Angeles went into the second down 33-12.
Talen Horton-Tucker was able to drive to the rim and convert a tough layup, but the defense had a tough time getting stops as the Raptors waltzed into the paint. James looked like he tweaked his ankle but remained in the game, but his presence did not help as they remained down by 22.
Los Angeles finally showed some signs of life after they got a rare stop and Russell Westbrook flew down the floor for an uncontested layup. James’ ankle looked fine after scoring on a backdoor cut for a dunk, but the Raptors responded with a run at the end of the quarter and the Lakers went into the half down 58-40.
Gabriel started the second half in place of Stanley Johnson, but much like the first half the Lakers had trouble getting shots to go down. Toronto played a perfect inside-out game offensively, with L.A. scrambling to try and closeout on shooters.
The Laker ball movement picked up as LeBron James and Malik Monk did well finding open teammates for quality looks. Without James on the floor, however, L.A. sputtered yet again and they went into the fourth staring up at a 91-71 hole.
Wayne Ellington had a rare two-way sequence as he knocked a triple and followed it up with a block on Fred VanVleet. Horton-Tucker went to work and found space to score, and James followed suit to get the Lakers within 15 points.
Horton-Tucker picked up a steal and James roared down the lane for an and-one, but Pascal Siakam answered with a tough running shot to keep Los Angeles at bay. The Lakers tried to make up the difference down the stretch and even got within single digits, but the large deficit ultimately proved too much to overcome.
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