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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Raptors – Game 24

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (10-14) | Toronto Raptors (13-12)

 

The Lake Show without Anthony Davis and LeBron James proved no match for the Toronto Raptors as they lost 126-113

 

The injury report in Toronto was brutal. No Anthony Davis, as he was out dealing with the non-Covid illness that kept him out of the game against Cleveland. LeBron James was out with left ankle soreness which, to be fair, is understandable. The king deserves a rest. Wenyen Gabriel was still out with a left shoulder sprain, and Patrick Beverley was also out with right knee soreness.

Darvin Ham told reporters that James, Davis, and Beverley were all day-to-day and that the back-to-back factored into James not playing. Ham indicated that Russell Westbrook would come off the bench despite James and Davis being out because he likes Westbrook’s rhythm with the second unit.

The Lakers’ starters vs. Toronto were Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Thomas Bryant. If this wasn’t a game that notified the front office that we need another reliable big, then Los Angeles is headed for another long season.

Fred VanVleet wasted no time draining a three to kick this one off. Pascal Siakam joined in with another three to keep the Lake Show behind 6-0. Ham had no choice but to sub in Russell Westbrook early, and he got to work by assisting Austin Reaves for a three.

But despite the resurgence, it was short-lived as Siakam scored again to keep a 15-5 lead. Schroder stayed confident, though, as he made a three to bring the lead back to single digits.

Westbrook was aggressive for the entirety of the first half. His foot was on the gas pedal as he snagged an offensive rebound and got the second chance points. But every time the Lakers got something, the Raptors mirrored that and multiplied it as VanVleet responded with a spinning layup.

The Lakers were down six but certainly looked much better since Westbrook subbed in. At the game’s first timeout, the Lake Show trailed Toronto 21-15, and they were down 11-0 early.

After a Siakam score, Westbrook burst down the court and shifted through two defenders for a layup. Kendrick Nunn foolishly fouled Gary Trent Jr. on a three-attempt, and Trent Jr. made him pay for it.

The Lakers were doing their best to hang around, but the Raptors were humming offensively. As the Lake Show found themselves down 33-25.

Nunn, who has been struggling all season, got a jumper to fall from mid-range. Westbrook blew a layup off an absolute laser of a pass from Troy Brown Jr., but he at least got the offensive board and scored.

At the end of the first quarter, the score read Raptors 39, Lakers 31. Toronto started this game 11-0 and already had two players in double figures. However, the James/Davis-less Lakers rallied and traded blows for the rest of the first. The defense was hard to come by for the Lake Show, but at least they found their groove offensively. Toronto also didn’t have a single turnover in the first compared to the Lakers’ three.

Scottie Barnes started the scoring in the second with a three from the left wing. Damian Jones came out of nowhere to volleyball spike OG Anunoby’s floater, and that gave the Lakers a little bit of momentum as Schroder blew by VanVleet for two.

There was an overabundance of free throws to go around in this quarter. It helped the Lakers, as they were only down 46-41. But Max Christie threw a bad pass which was stolen, which led to a pull-up three from VanVleet over Westbrook, capping off a 6-0 run and pushing the Raptors’ lead back to 11.

Westbrook seemed adamant about attacking the rim in this one. Still, he kept running into a defensive wall as two or three Raptor defenders would collapse onto him, this time resulting in Brodie getting stuffed by Christian Koloko.

The Lake Show, at this point, had missed their last eight field goals, with no points in around the last five minutes. All the while, Trent Jr. scored a floater, and Anunoby got a wide-open dunk. Toronto now led 62-41, a 16-0 Raptor run. The Lake Show was at an abysmal 31.6% from the field but got a prayer from Walker IV as he drilled a three to end the first half.

 

At halftime, the score read Raptors 70, Lakers 47. This game was ugly as Toronto blew this one wide open. Schroder led the way with 12 pts, but Los Angeles shot 31.8% overall and 22.2% on threes. The Raptors had 11 offensive rebounds and 30 points in the paint.

 

The Lakers started the third quarter with a turnover. On the bright side, the Lakers outscored the Raptors 3-2 so far. The downside was that they’re still trailing 72-50.

Reaves has developed well at absorbing contact and finishing, earning himself an excellent three-point play. Reaves followed that up on the next possession, working the defense to score inside again, cutting the lead to 14.

With Westbrook heading to the line, it was the 24th and 25th free throw attempts for the Lakers, which had helped keep them in the game. The Lakers had some momentum, but they also kept putting the Raptors on the line. To end the third quarter, the Raptors outscored the Lake Show 10-7.

At the end of the third quarter, the score was Raptors 97, Lakers 75. The Lake Show had more turnovers (11) than assists (10). Toronto’s length had predictably affected them on both ends of the floor. Los Angeles had some good stretches in the third but still found themselves staring at a huge deficit.

Chris Boucher made a three to hit the century mark to begin the fourth. The Lake Show defense must’ve been confused as they gave up back-to-back easy dunks to Anunoby. Offensively they weren’t throwing in the towel yet as Schroder assisted Westbrook for the score inside.

Then another stroke of bad luck as the injury bug hit Toscano-Anderson. He fell to the floor after landing on Thomas Bryant’s foot and was holding his ankle. He had to be carried back to the locker room. This is something that’s part of the game but also something that you hate to see when a reserve finally gets some run.

However, the game was already well out of reach, with 5:31 remaining and the score at 115-93. Nunn forced a Toronto turnover at halfcourt and punched the ball through the basket for two. It was a great effort from the bench unit as they dwindled the Toronto lead down to 15 with 2:19 remaining. But Laker fans were glad this one was over, as the final score doesn’t precisely replicate how bad this one was. The Lakers lost 126-113.

Key Takeaways

 

The Lake Show lost without James, Davis, Beverley, and Gabriel. They drop to 10-14 and 2-2 on this 6-game road trip. Schroder had 18 points and five rebounds. Westbrook had 16 points and nine rebounds. Walker IV was somehow a game-worst -37. In contrast, Toscano-Anderson was a game-best +5.

VanVleet finished with 25 points and seven rebounds. Siakam also had 25 points, along with ten rebounds and seven assists. Anunoby put up 23 points and six rebounds.

Toscano-Anderson suffered a right ankle sprain, per the Lakers. Ham told reporters that he’d be re-evaluated soon.

In other news, the Minnesota Timberwolves recently signed ex-Lakers wing shooter Matt Ryan on a two-way NBA contract; sources told Jon Krawczynski. Ryan had a solid stint for the Lakers, making 13 three-pointers over a 12-game stretch.

 

The Lakers will continue their six-game road trip with a game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ll face off Friday, December 9th, at 4:30 p.m. PT at the Wells Fargo Center. The game will be available on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, *ESPN2, *NBC Sports Philadelphia, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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