The Los Angeles Lakers just didn’t have enough in the tank to beat the defending champions tonight, as the Toronto Raptors won 113-104. Despire a triple-double from LeBron James and a 27 point game from Anthony Davis, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakum had an answer every time the Lakers appeared to have full control before they finally pulled away in the fourth.
Raptors bench unit outplays the Lakers
Even as the Toronto Raptors were shorthanded without Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, the team’s depleted bench unit still showed up to play. That unit took it to the Lakers’ at the beginning of the 4th quarter, extending the lead to right around 10-12, while keeping it at that until Kyle Kuzma’s back-to-back threes around the 3-minute mark. The worst part about this was that LeBron James and Anthony Davis were on the court for most of it.
The Lakers overall played worse defense than we’ve become accustomed to in this one. Part of it was that the Raptors were seemingly attacking Kyle Kuzma whenever they could, thriving especially on Pascal Siakam being matched up with Kuz. Down the stretch the Lakers had some wide-open threes rim-out from Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, resulting in some terrible transition defense and some Pascal Siakam gimmes.
Fred VanCurry torches the Lakers
The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry against the Lakers, but the team’s backup point guard, Fred VanVleet, came up in a big way.
This isn’t anything new for VanVleet, as he had a stellar NBA Finals earlier this year. He brought the same type of lethal scoring tonight, scoring 23 points including 4-of-9 from three. Avery Bradley did a decent job on him for most of the game, but at most points, VanVleet was just too much.
Troy Daniels and Kyle Kuzma try to revive the team’s three-point shooting
The Lakers have been struggling from deep this season, as well as of late, as they came into the game ranked 27th in the league at 30.8% from three. Troy Daniels and Kyle Kuzma have both been struggling from beyond the arc, an area where they’re supposed to thrive. They changed that tonight.
Daniels put up 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, while Kuzma put up 3-of-7. However, they did not get much help from his teammates. Other than Daniels and Kuzma, the rest of the team put up 4-of-18, with poor shooting games from Avery Bradley (1-of-4) and Danny Green (0-of-4).
The team really needs to start knocking down shots, as some of these players were brought in to specifically do that.
The Lakers will suit up again on the road in Phoenix on Tuesday, as they will take on the Suns for the first time this season. It’ll be the first game of a back-to-back, as the team will take on the Golden State Warriors back in Staples Center on Wednesday.