Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Raptors – Game 64


Needing every win to avoid the play-in game, the Los Angeles Lakers hosted a shorthanded Toronto Raptors team on Sunday night in what was a prime opportunity to come away on top.


Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

Unfortunately, though, the Lakers’ effort level was low once again and Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam both had their best games of the season, resulting in a 121-114 loss for L.A.

The Lakers were determined to establish Andre Drummond in the low post early and the center delivered as he scored seven quick points to put the team ahead. Defensively, Los Angeles did a great job limiting Toronto to one shot and running out in semi-transition to set up their offense.

The Purple and Gold looked like they settled in on both ends as they forced turnovers that ignited their break while also hitting open 3-pointers that extended their lead to 12 as the decision to insert Alex Caruso into the starting lineup was appearing to pay off.

Siakam was able to get the Raptors back on track by scoring 17 points in the period, but Kyle Kuzma caught fire from the field and the Lakers went into the second up 38-32.

It was a sloppy beginning to the second for L.A. as they began to turn the basketball over, which allowed Toronto to tie the game at 40. The Lakers responded with a mini-run, but the Raptors responded to keep the game close midway through the quarter.


Los Angeles’ issues fouling Toronto came back to bite them as the latter got into the bonus and took full advantage of their trips to take a lead. Things only got worse for the Lakers as they played with a lack of intensity and focus that put them in a 72-59 hole at halftime.


Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Raptors HQ

Lowry sparked the end-of-the-half run for the Raptors, knocking down a three and then a layup at the buzzer with little-to-no resistance from the Lakers defense.

The poor effort on both ends continued at the start of the third as the Lakers quickly fell behind by 18, forcing a timeout from Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. Vogel inserted Talen Horton-Tucker who provided a small spark, but Toronto held on to its massive lead.

Like the rest of the Lakers, Anthony Davis struggled to get much going offensively while the Raptors continued to pile on. Kuzma was able to cut some of Toronto’s momentum with a 3-pointer but L.A. went into the fourth trailing 99-84.

The Lakers finally showed some signs of life as they briefly cut the deficit to 10, but Lowry’s hot shooting kept them at bay. LeBron James tried to keep L.A. in it, but the lack of defense prevented them from making much of a dent in the score.

The team tried to make a late-game comeback and got within six, but ultimately Toronto’s double-digit lead was too much to overcome and the Lakers would walk away with another disappointing loss.


Lakers News and Notes:


Lakers vs Raptors
Photo Credit: Clips Nation

The LeBron James era at Staples Center has ended arguably the worst decade in Los Angeles Lakers history. But the franchise memorably had a massive chance to come out of the slump earlier when it agreed to trade for then-New Orleans Hornets superstar Chris Paul, entering the prime of his career.

The NBA was coming out of the 2011 lockout in early December when the news broke about a three-way deal between the Lakers, Houston Rockets, and New Orleans. L.A. agreed to break up the All-Star duo Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol as well as part ways with the team’s sixth man Lamar Odom, sending them to the Hornets.

In return, Paul was headed to Staples Center until NBA commissioner David Stern blocked the deal. The league-owned the New Orleans franchise at the time.

Former Lakers guard Matt Barnes, who played for the Purple and Gold in the early 2010s, asked Lakers governor Jeanie Buss about the infamous trade on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” show. And Buss, who acted as L.A.’s vice president of business operations in 2011, revealed the transaction failed to materialize due to the miscommunication between Stern and then-New Orleans general manager Dell Demps:


“So if you remember we were in a lockout, right? When there’s a lockout, there’s a moratorium on everything: you can’t make trades, you can’t do anything. As we were making a deal with the union and then starting to lift the lockout rules, all the representatives of the teams had to be in New York for Board of Governors meeting to ratify the new CBA. And so as we’re in this room, all of a sudden, there’s kind of this rumor that goes in around the room about a trade. Well, at that time, the team was run by the league, right? So there’s no way a trade can be happening if we’re all in this room doing league business. Except the [New Orleans] general manager of the team felt that he had the authority to make a trade. … So the trade was happening while everybody is in this room, so teams felt like ‘How is that possible? We didn’t get a chance to make a trade for Chris Paul?’ And so they all attacked the league and said this wasn’t fair.”


Buss added Stern rejected the trade as the Hornets’ governor, not the NBA’s commissioner, trying to make sure the franchise agreed to a deal he would have approved. The decision was also supposed to cool off the heated situation between the league, the Lakers, and other disgruntled teams.

But in the meantime, L.A. traded Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, breaking up pieces of the canceled Paul trade and surrendering in the race for the Hornets guard. The L.A. Clippers then famously sneaked in and snapped up Paul, sending Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, and a 2012 first-round pick to New Orleans.



The Lakers are right back at it at home against the Nuggets on Monday. The tip-off is at 7:00 pm and the game can be seen on ESPN & Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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