Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Raptors – Game 51

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The Los Angeles Lakers were able to bounce back in a big way on Tuesday night, blowing out a shorthanded Toronto Raptors squad by a score of 110-101. With so many tough games coming up on the road trip, this was a much-needed with for L.A. who are still without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Andre Drummond.

 

Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers came out of the gates hot, moving the ball along the arc and knocking down several open 3-pointers. Markieff Morris drained a couple of quick ones to give Los Angeles the early lead, while Marc Gasol kept the team organized on both ends as he looked rejuvenated playing against his former team.

Things got heated midway through the first as OG Anunoby dropped Dennis Schroder, provoking a confrontation between the two teams. Anunoby and Montrezl Harrell were ejected from the game, with the latter taking the fall for defending his teammate.

The Lakers continued to shoot well after the scuffle, though, and as a result, they went into the second up 40-28.

Devontae Cacok was a spark for Los Angeles with Harrell no longer available, playing solid defense and converting a layup after a nice dish from Talen Horton-Tucker. The 3-point barrage from the Lakers did not let up either as they were able to convert on nearly all their open looks, opening up a 25-point lead in the process.

 

Everything continued to go right for the Purple and Gold as they could not miss from the field and defensively made life unbearable for the Raptor offense. Toronto showed some signs of life to close the quarter, but the Lakers still went into the half ahead comfortably, 68-42.

 

Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: LA Times

Gasol picked up where he left off in the first half to begin the third quarter, scoring the first two Lakers baskets and then finding Schroder for a floater. However, the Raptors began to slowly cut into the deficit as they looked to push the tempo off misses.

The Lakers managed to hit a couple more threes to keep them well ahead, but the Raptors had more pep in their step as they looked to climb out of their hole. However, Cacok provided some much-needed energy in his second stint, and L.A. walked into the fourth with a comfortable 90-70 lead.

Both teams struggled to get much going scoring-wise to begin the fourth, but Horton-Tucker scored five points to put the Lakers ahead by 24. Despite cooling down from three, Los Angeles was never truly threatened and would come away with a solid victory.

 

 

Lakers News and Notes:

 

Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Ebene-Magazine

Although the 2020-21 season hasn’t gone exactly as they had hoped, the Los Angeles Lakers are still in a position to contend for a championship if they can get healthy before the playoffs.

Even though they are currently without their two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers decided to stand pat and didn’t make any trades before the deadline despite being linked to Kyle Lowry and several other big-name players.

The Lakers did have two open roster spots, though, giving them the ability to pick up a couple of impact players on the buyout market should they become available. They filled one of those roster spots pretty quickly with the addition of a former All-Star in center Andre Drummond.

With the final roster spot, it has been reported by even NBA insiders that the Lakers were looking for a 3-and-D wing, which would address a major need for them on the perimeter.

Before the game on Tuesday night, it was reported that they had signed guard Ben McLemore, who was recently bought out by the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers didn’t announce the terms of the deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

McLemore isn’t really known for his defense, but he does bring shooting to the table, which is much-needed right now, considering how much the team has struggled offensively without their two stars.

In eight career NBA seasons, McLemore is a 36.3% shooter from deep. The former No. 7 overall pick out of Kansas has appeared in 32 games for the Rockets this season, averaging 7.4 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 35.7% from the field and 33.1% from 3-point range.

In addition to his shooting, the McLemore signing also doesn’t come as much of a surprise for L.A. since he is repped by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

It remains to be seen how many minutes McLemore will get when everyone on the Lakers is healthy, but there is no doubt he can add an extra scoring punch off the bench while so many other key players continue to work their way back from injury.

Now that the Lakers’ roster is full, they would have to waive someone to make any more additions before the April 9th buyout deadline.

 

The Lakers are on the road again as they take on the Heat in Miami. Tip-off is at 4:30 pm and you can watch the game on TNT and on Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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