The well-rested Los Angeles Lakers came back home to the STAPLES Center and hosted the slumping Toronto Raptors but were unable to stop a three-point barrage in a 102-91 losing effort.
Kyle Lowry ignited Toronto’s hot three-point shooting early in the game by going 3 for 3 from that mark for nine first quarter points. His annihilation continued in the second period as he tacked on two more threes and 10 more points.
However, the Lakers survived Lowry’s onslaught and actually held a one-point lead at intermission. Nick Young aided the Lakers early in the second quarter with two quick three-pointers to jump start the team and the starting unit took care of the rest.
A huge blow for the Raptors came towards the end of the first half when starting center Jonas Valanciunas went up for a dunk and Kobe Bryant slapped his hand, causing the big man to fracture the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. Valanciunas remained in the contest and finished out the half but did not return for the second 24.
Julius Randle, who has been quiet over the last three games, returned to form in tonight’s contest. He notched eight points and eight rebounds by halftime and tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds for the game.
As the second half kicked off, Toronto’s three-point shooting parade resumed with Luis Scola draining a corner three. Lowry added two more hits from downtown, but the Lakers kept surviving and in fact took a seven-point lead midway through the third.
But the turning point came late in the third stanza when the Raptors steadily took control of the game.
DeMarre Carroll, who concluded the game with 13 points, knocked down two early threes in the fourth and James Johnson drained one himself and suddenly the Raptors started running away from the Lakers.
Just like the game against the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles melted down in the final period, and despite a late rally in this one, they came up fairly short.
While Lowry carried Toronto throughout, DeMar DeRozan put the finishing touches to the game by hitting a few clutch free throws and a driving layup that sealed the victory for his team. He had 18 points and four rebounds, while Lowry ended with 25 points, five assists, and five rebounds to go along with seven three-pointers.
The Raptors as a team were a plus-21 from three-point distance, netting 45.5 percent of their threes. However, during the season, they are ranked 24th in three-pointers made but found their stroke against Los Angeles’ pedestrian defense.
Rookie D’Angelo Russell had the best night of his young career, scoring 17 points, nabbing five boards, and dishing out a couple of assists. But he did most of the damage early on and cooled off as the game progressed.
Bryant, meanwhile, managed to score 10 points while adding five assists, four rebounds, and two steals. After complaining about his knees and back following Sunday’s victory, Bryant rested Monday in Phoenix and logged nearly 38 minutes tonight. But despite playing heavy minutes, Coach Byron Scott believes Bryant will play in the team’s next game.
“I know that was big for him (Bryant). But he’ll be ready for Sunday,” Coach Scott stated.
Jordan Clarkson was the only other Laker in double figures with 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists on 6 of 13 shooting. A quiet night for Clarkson, but he was a team-high plus-12 on the floor.
As the Lakers drop to 2-10 on the season, they will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday evening before hitting the road once again. The Raptors snapped their three-game losing streak and will remain in L.A. to play the Los Angeles Clippers to conclude their five-game West coast trip.