Four Takeaways From The Lakers' 107-92 Loss To Toronto Raptors
Jill Painter Lopez
The Lakers had their worst shooting performance of the season in their 107-92 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
They shot a woeful 35.4 percent from the field in their 11th-straight loss to the team dating back to 2014.
If they had won Saturday, they would've clinched the top spot in the Western Conference.
Here are our four takeaways from Saturday’s game.
1. The Lakers bench is in a groove.
It was the bench that got the Lakers back in the game after falling behind 13-0 to start. In the first quarter, Alex Caruso and others helped the Lakers get back on track initially with a hustling defense and ability to make shots on the offensive end. The Lakers went on a 21-10 run to pull within 23-21 at the end of the first quarter. The Lakers bench outscored the Raptors' reserves 13-2 in the first quarter and 31-6 by halftime.
Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for a fine defensive play in the first quarter in which Caruso pressured the ballhandler for the steal, the ball was loose and Caldwell-Pope dove and flung the ball ahead to Caruso, who made an open two-handed dunk.
Dion Waiters, who signed with the Lakers in March, was solid in his second game with the Lakers, finishing with 12 points. Caruso added 11 points. Kyle Kuzma added 16 points.
2. LeBron James and Anthony Davis Have Some Help
The Lakers proved they can still stay afloat when their superstars are double-teamed or having off nights.
James and Davis combined for just eight points by halftime -- seven of which were scored by James -- yet the Lakers led by three at halftime, 44-41. James, the NBA’s assist leader, was getting others involved offensively, and the Lakers defense was creating transition baskets on the other end.
James finished with 20 points and Davis, who was double-teamed for much of the night, scored 14 points. In the team's last game against the Clippers, James and Davis combined for 50 points in the Lakers' 103-101 win.
3. Danny Green And The Lakers Struggled With Poor Shooting.
Green struggled on Saturday, going 0-for-7 from the field, including 0-for-6 from beyond the three-point line, in 20 minutes. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter until Lakers coach Frank Vogel pulled his starters at the end. Green is in the starting rotation for the Lakers, and they’ll need much more production from him in their quest to win their first NBA title since 2010. All NBA teams were off for more than four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's expected that some players will experience rust.
Green wasn’t alone. The Lakers had their worst shooting game of the season, making just 35.4 percent from the field and 10-for-40 (25 percent) from the three-point line.
4. The Raptors Are A Threat
The Raptors, the NBA’s reigning NBA champions, kept their winning streak alive against the Lakers.
They’ve won 11-straight games against the Lakers. The last time the Lakers beat the Raptors was Nov. 30, 2014, nearly six years ago.
Point guard Kyle Lowry was a scoring machine with 33 points. It was clear the Lakers were missing the defense of guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the NBA’s restart because of family reasons, and the veteran presence of Rajon Rondo, who is recovering from a fractured right thumb and is expected to return in the playoffs.
The Lakers need just one win over their next six seeding games to clinch the top spot in the Western Conference.