The Los Angeles Lakers were severely shorthanded on Wednesday night, playing without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others against the Toronto Raptors in the second of a back-to-back.
The result was as expected as the Lakers could not keep up with the Raptors, falling 126-113 to drop to 10-14 on the season.
As could be expected, it was a slow start for the Lakers and their make-shift starting lineup. The Raptors began the game on an 11-0 run, forcing Darvin Ham to put in Russell Westbrook earlier than usual. Austin Reaves finally hit a 3-pointer, breaking the dry spell for L.A.
That allowed the Lakers to get going a bit at least as Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker IV followed with 3s of their own.
Although Westbrook’s energy made a difference, the Raptors got hot to end the quarter. Toronto had no problem getting quality looks against the Lakers’ smaller lineups and led 39-31 after one.
Two of the Lakers’ most disappointing players this season have been Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones, but they provided the Lakers with some production early in the second. Nunn hit a 3 while Jones had a thunderous block on OG Anunoby and then finished a dunk on the other end.
Both teams went really cold in the middle of the second until Fred VanVleet finally connected on a 3, extending the Raptors’ lead back to double digits. That was the start of a 16-0 run as the Lakers’ deficiencies on both ends became very apparent. Toronto extended it’s lead to close the half as the Lakers went into the locker room trailing 70-47.
If the Lakers were going to make any sort of run to get back in the game it would have had to come at the start of the third quarter. After struggling in the first half, Reaves was able to get going a little by attacking the basket. He helped cut the deficit to 13 although the Raptors answered with a run of their own to get it back up to 20-plus.
The Lakers went into the fourth quarter trailing by 22, clearly looking like they were out of gas in the second of the back-to-back. With still two games left on the road trip though, it may have been for the best as some of the main guys played fewer minutes with the game being a blowout.
Schroder led the Lakers with 18 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists while Westbrook had 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Thomas Bryant also had a quality night in a rare starting role, recording 16 points and making all 10 of his free throw attempts.
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