What's this called? I can't seem to remember.
Ah yes. A winning streak. I had long forgotten that word.
The Lakers marched into Toronto this afternoon and defeated the Raptors 112-106. Looking at the T-Dot side of the box score, you wouldn't have guessed it. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 44 points and 16 assists, continuing the LA tradition of allowing opposing guards go absolutely bonkers night to night. The Raps destroyed the Lakers on the boards as well, out rebounding the Show by 16. They even outshot LA, hitting nearly 49% of their shots overall. It had all the makings for another bad Lakers loss.
But what the Raptors weren't expecting was for Ryan Kelly and Nick Young to look like Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry circa 2010. In his first NBA start, Kelly may have made coach Mike D'Antoni whip out the permanent marker, as the former Duke Blue Devil went for 17 points on 7 shots, including a spectacular fourth quarter. His accomplice in closing the game? Nick Young, returning from a one-game suspension, who hit 7 of 13 shots and went 10 for 11 from the free throw line for a sterling 29 points today. The two essentially put away the Raptors themselves, as Toronto collapsed on both ends of the floor after commanding a double-digit lead late in the third.
Overall, the Lakers didn't execute crisply today, nor did they erase any of their flaws that have been their downfall over the past month. But they got to the line frequently (26 for 28!) and continued to play hard despite the Toronto's merciless work on the boards and the continual pestering from Lowry and DeRozan. The Lakers have now won two games in a row, their first winning streak in over a month. Unbelievable.
These Lakers do not believe they are tanking. They believe they can win every single night. This is the best bad team you could ever hope for, Lakers fans.
--Follow this author @TheGreatMambino