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Lakers 120, Raptors 110: Canadians Have No Idea What "Defense" Is

In Canada, they spell some words a bit differently than we do here in the States. Like Brits and Australians, they spell words like offense and defense with a "c" instead of an "s." Well, they might as well spell defence like this: n-o-n-e. The Raptors' D is extinct, much like their namesakes. I don't want to sound like a hypocrite, the Lakers didn't play much defenSe either, but I suppose I can give them a pass. This game was the last of an 11-day, 7-game road trip. Of course they were a little tired. They gave up 110 points in a game they won kind of handily. That should tell you how bad the Raps are on that end. (Okay, okay... Clips "road" games don't count. 9-day, 6-game road trip. Happy now?)

Usually, games like this might end up being one of those in which the home team lingers around, makes a late push, then the next thing you know we're left reading recaps about losing momentum on an otherwise great road trip. If this were last year's team, that may have happened. The "Bench Mob" were known to lose a lead or ten. This year?  Our Killer B's bench puts away games just as well as our starters do.

The game started out evenly as the Raps were led by a perfect quarter from Amir Johnson (6 for 6 for 12 points) and 1st Team Lakers Killer Linus Kleiza (7 points in the 1st, including 7 straight shots for the Raps. 26 points and 10 rebounds overall). Kobe Bryant abused DeMar DeRozan on offense for 9 points, with an array of moves that made you wonder if DeRozan ever played defense in his life. Kobe blew by him with such ease, he looked 25 years old all over again. Unfortunately, Kobe wasn't  too concerned with playing defense either. Nor the rest of the Lakers. The Lakers' rotations were lethargic to downright lazy, so the Raptors took advantage with good ball movement and hot shooting to take a 34-28 lead to end the quarter.  

In the 2nd quarter, the bench went to work. As in, being less sloppy than Toronto, who did everything in their power to miss shots, layups and turn the ball over. Erasing a 6-point deficit, the Lakers took the lead before the starters re-entered the game to push the lead to 8 points heading into the half.  

After the half, it started to look like Kobe was about to catch fire. He continued to roast DeRozan to start the 3rd, scoring 10 points, while almost singlehandedly pushing the Lakers' lead to 15 points 3:26 into the quarter. But remember, he wasn't too interested in playing defense, as he would close out poorly, let DeRozan drive by him and get left swiping as DeMar went nuts to go on to score 19 points in the 3rd alone. All of a sudden, it's a 5 point lead before Phil Jackson decides to call a timeout to let the bench go back to work. It was pretty much over from there, as they would go on to score 57 of the Lakers' 120 points. Especially good were Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown, scoring 15 and 12 points respectively. Along with Steve Blake, they hit killer 3's that deflated any real chance the Raps had at gaining momentum on a tired Lakers team. Even Luke got in the mix with 9 points in 14 minutes. Also, Andrew Bynum had his best game since his return, scoring 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds in 18 minutes. 

Too many times, this story has ended up the wrong ending. Tired Lakers; enthused home team; excited fans; head scratching loss. Just like the Philly game, we no longer have to rely on our starters, namely Kobe and Pau, to plug on through in nights they just aren't 100%. That's not to say they were bad, but the energy just wasn't there to play a complete game. Per Dex's twitter feed, the Lakers scored 1.22 points per possession on 98 possessions. The Raps, 1.10 on 100 (of course). Defense was as rare as Lamar's ability to hold on to the ball - he had 5 of the Lakers' 17 turnovers. At least our main guys got some rest. Kobe only played 28 minutes, while Pau only played 30. Thank goodness we have a complete team that is ready to step up and pick up the slack.  

P.S. Dex will add his shiny stats table in a lil bit. (Here you go! ~DF)











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