Blame Canada

You can drive yourself insane analyzing a game like this. When two teams play 90+ possessions and finish a point apart, there's no end to the what-ifs. What if Kobe Bryant's fadeaway three at the buzzer had been two inches longer? What if the refs hadn't called a phantom foul on Pau Gasol with 1.2 seconds to play? What if the Lakers - with the ball, a four point lead and 1:30 left in the game - had milked the clock instead of pushing the ball imprudently and turning it over?

That way madness lies. In losing to the Toronto Raptors106 to 105, today, the Lakers fall to 1-2 on their road trip and behind Cleveland in the standings. In the process a couple memes have died, and if there's any justice in the world a third will join them.

Remember when Andrew Bynum couldn't play with Gasol? They scored 22 and 21 points, respectively. They each had nine boards and combined for a pair of turnovers. Minty.

Remember when the Lakers only lost big? That wasn't an underlying attribute of the team so much as a flukey short-term trend. They've now dropped two nail-biters in four days. Winning tight games isn't really a skill.... it's largely a matter of catching a break at the right time. As I once heard Daryl Morey say, great teams don't win close games; they avoid them.

The third meme that I hope will die a similar death, but I know will not, is that the Lakers get all the calls. The Raptors shot 26 free throws today to the Lakers' nine. Anyone committed to the REFS HEART THE LAKERZ!! worldview will trot out the tired "But Toronto was more aggressive!" theorem. Sorry, but no. The Raptors are more jumpshootery than almost anyone, and today they looked it.

Then, you know, there was that Pau call at the end.

I'm not putting this L on the refs. Games like this, where the whistles for whatever reason don't go your way - they happen. I just want the anti-Laker paranoiacs to remember this data point the next time they're on the verge of a whining jag.

I have zero confidence my hopes will be realized.

In addition to Bynum and Gasol, a gold star - ehh, let's make it silver in light of the loss - goes to Kobe for a strong multi-category stat line (27 points, 9 assists, 16 reebs). It still wasn't Classic Mamba in terms of shooting accuracy, but an Effective Field-Goal Percentage of 48% is real improvement. And hey, how about Jordan Farmar? The kid hit for 17 points in 21 minutes, with four boards and a single turnover.

See anything you like, Jerry Colangelo?

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

Lakers

93

14

0.09

100

0.19

44

32

49

51

33

78

1.13

Raps

94

12

0.32

81

0.22

50

39

52

57

22

67

1.13

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