Lakers vs Raptors score takeaways: Kyle Lowry leads Toronto to a tie-break win over LeBron James and his company

0
213


Ladies and gentlemen, we may have just found our fourth contender for the championship. Just two nights after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers were strangled by the Toronto Raptors, 107-92. They shot a miserable 35.8% from the ground and 25.6% from behind the line thanks in large part to Toronto’s second defense. Former Raptor Danny Green failed to shoot. Anthony Davis was held to a paltry 2 for 7 on the field.The Raptors, meanwhile, got their traditional contributions from almost everyone, although it was Kyle Lowry who led the way with 33 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. In doing so, he helped the Raptors play spoilers not only for the Lakers, but their rival Milwaukee Bucks as well. Both teams would have won the No.1 seed in their respective conferences if the Lakers had won. But alas, both teams will have to wait to clinch their place at the top of the standings.

The victory nearly secures the second place lead for Toronto, which now leads Boston by 3.5 games with seven remaining. This should give them the flexibility to manage their rosters in the way that best prepares them for the playoffs. The Lakers already had this privilege due to their dominant regular season. Coming tonight, it seemed likely this would be the last battle between the Lakers and Raptors this season, but Toronto’s performance made something perfectly clear: a rematch between these two teams in the NBA Finals is absolutely on the cards. Table.

There’s no one the Raptors can’t defend

Just two days after Anthony Davis chopped up the Clippers, the NBA’s No.2 defense held him just 2 for 7 on the field. Their commitment to silence him was remarkable. At one point he was even a triple team on the perimeter. Nick Nurse’s game plan was clear: stop the star and let the bench try to beat us. The bench was excellent but the plan worked perfectly. Without Davis putting his usual 25 points, the Lakers were only required to 92 points. There’s not much a group of role players can do.

The Raptors have fallen on another star

Let’s talk about the OG Anunoby party. He finished with 23 points on 8-for-9 shooting, perfect from behind the arc, while also posting four rebounds and one assist. Oh, and he also defended this guy from LeBron James for much of the night. Have you ever heard of him?

Toronto’s player development staff are some of the best in all of basketball, but their work with Anunoby has been remarkable. Its development was almost a mirror image of that of Pascal Siakam. He entered the league as an elite athlete able to defend, but slowly learned to shoot and handle the ball. Anunoby shot 38% from behind the arc before the stoppage, and his dribbling increased by leaps and bounds. If that’s what Anunoby is going to be, the Raptors are quite a true championship contender.

The Lakers mixed it up defensively and found some success

The Lakers tend to be a pretty traditional defensive team. They prefer fall protection as a method of channeling riders into their rim protection, a wise strategy when playing two big guys most of the time. But with Avery Bradley out, their point-of-attack defense lost their primary weapon, so the Lakers adjusted. They turned on a lot more defensive screens than they usually do, and although the Raptors finished with 107 points, most came out of hot shots in the fourth quarter. They limited the Raptors to just 41 points in the first period. It’s a nice weapon to keep in their back pocket against certain opponents, especially those who shoot particularly well.

The Lakers must be happy with their bench, at least

The Lakers are extremely dependent on their two superstars offensively, and under normal circumstances getting just nine field goals from James and Davis would have been catastrophic. But boy, did the bench step up in this one. The Lakers got 49 of their 92 bench points, including 39 from the combination of Kyle Kuzma, Dion Waiters and Alex Caruso. The servers and Caruso had positive point differentials in the loss, a critical nugget considering how the Lakers tend to play with LeBron off the ground. After a dominant outing against the Clippers, it looks like the addition of servers is making a hardware difference for these save units. They finally have a real cliché maker, and that makes their lives easier.

JR Smith isn’t ready for prime time.

Okay, it was an interesting experience given the limited resources available, but it has run its course. JR Smith won’t play a significant role in the Lakers’ rotation in the playoffs. In eight minutes, he made two faults, missed his only (bad) shot and made a blatant turnover. His defense isn’t close to playoff caliber at this point. The Lakers were outscored by five points with him on the floor, which is somewhat surprising given the success of the rest of their bench. It is just that failed at this point. It should come as little surprise to hear that a 34-year-old who just spent a year and a half of basketball is not going to contribute to a championship push. Barring injuries, he should be glued to the bench for the rest of the season.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here