Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Raptors- Game 68

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (29-39) | Toronto Raptors (37-30)

 

The Lakers cut a 22-point deficit to single digits in the final minutes, but couldn’t close in the 114-103 loss to the Raptors.

 

Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong

The expectations for the Lakers, given their remaining schedule of great opponents, is not very high.  They had a small starting lineup again last night, letting weak defense be the problem leading to another defeat.

Scottie Barnes got the first 6 up for Toronto, leading a 9-0 run to start.  The Lakers were a shocking 2 for their first 20 before they got it going.   Barnes would have the Raptors up 21-2 in the middle of the first, leaving the home crowd stunned silent.

Barnes had 13 in the quarter, hitting 6 of his first 7.  Toronto was excelling with scoring more points from inside the paint.  The quarter was forgettable for Los Angeles and also forced Frank Vogel to call two timeouts.  The team looked to show a lot more effort as the game progressed, down 21 out of the gates due to a near franchise-low play.

James would only have 8 points by halftime, but he helped the Lakers show signs of a comeback in the second.  The Raptors would be up by 22 with 5 minutes to play, with Pascal Siakam scoring 11 in the quarter.  The Lakers would then go on a 14-5 run to finally bring the game closer. Westbrook completed an and-1 before a contested three by Carmelo Anthony to lead the run.

The Lakers only had 6 turnovers to improve from the last game, but a 12-49 overall shooting in the half had them trying to climb a tall ladder to make up for consistently poor performances.  Toronto would finish the half up 18, continually taking advantage of their opponent’s mistakes.  While the Lakers cut the lead down to 13 during their run, too many players were filling the stat sheets with terrible shooting numbers.  Most notably, Wenyen Gabriel was 1-8 off the bench but looked to improve in order to maintain his role.

Fred Vanvleet has been a leader in the offense all year for Toronto but was surprisingly quiet in the first half.  The Laker defense looked to band together more stops on Siakam and Barnes in the second half.

The Lakers found themselves trailing far behind again at halftime, down 18 at 58-40 to the Raptors.

 

Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong

Scottie Barnes continued his dominant night to start the third, scoring three times while cutting to the basket.  Lebron James hit two straight threes in response, but his team was still trailing significantly.  James and Carmelo Anthony were the only real offense in the quarter, in fact, staying consistently 20 points behind.

The Lakers would get scores from Westbrook and Talen-Horton Tucker from three but remained far behind going into the final quarter.  Gary Trent Jr. had 15 in the quarter to join the onslaught, with 6 players finishing in double figures by the game’s end.  The game headed into the fourth under the same circumstances as the last game, resulting in the bench getting more time.

THT would have it down to 15 to start the quarter, scoring twice in a row.  The Raptors got it back to 20 almost immediately, but Frank Vogel decided to keep Lebron in.  He and Anthony went on to lead a 14-6 run, both hitting tough threes to bring it closer at long last.  With 2 minutes to play, James would have the game within single digits with another three.

The first quarter performance displayed by the Lakers came back to haunt them, however. Despite finally closing the score gap during the final quarter, they didn’t have enough time to come back and gain the win.  James reached 30 points again in the final minutes, but Toronto was able to run out the clock and secure a victory over the Lakers.  The Raptors are in the playoff picture and had the advantage last night with three of their players on offense reaching 20. For the Lakers, however, the struggles just keep coming as the game came to a close on another frustrating loss.

 

The Lakers head to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves Wednesday, the game can be seen at 5 p.m. on Spectrum.          

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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