The Lakers headed North for the third stop on their five game road trip, facing off with the Toronto
Drakes Raptors. After leading for most of the first half, the Lakers had one of their trademark third quarter let downs and lost 94-83.
Jeremy Lin hit two early three pointers en route to 10 first quarter points, Tarik Black owned the boards early (5 in the first quarter, four offensive), and the Lakers played some shockingly average defense to earn a 24-17 lead over the Raptors after one. The absence of Kyle Lowry left Toronto looking discombobulated on offense early, and the Lakers capitalized by attacking in delayed transition as well as racking up second chance points off of their seven first quarter offensive rebounds.
The Raptors cut the Lakers lead to just 2 points heading into halftime, 48-46, and outscored the Lakers 29-24 in the second quarter. The Lakers shot only 39.6% in the half, but led mostly thanks to their aforementioned offensive rebounding advantage, grabbing nearly as many offensive rebounds (12) as the Raptors grabbed defensive ones (14). After playing the entire first quarter, Lin only played 4 minutes in the second and did not score. Jordan Clarkson bounced back from a rough start, and ended the half with 10 points on 5-10 shooting. The Lakers were aided by the struggles of USC's own DeMar DeRozan, who missed all four of his shots and had one turnover in addition to his 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas came alive for the Raptors in the third quarter, leading the team back to take a 71-66 advantage into the final period. The Lakers relentless activity in the first half slowed down in the third, with the team getting no offensive rebounds, eliminating the second chance points they had built their lead upon.
Toronto opened up the final frame with a 14-6 run and never looked back, riding a wave of Lakers misses, turnovers, and overall sloppiness to a stress free victory that allowed them to clinch the Atlantic division. After a strong start, Lin's upper-respiratory infection appeared to catch up to him, as he only scored 6 points in the final three quarters after his 10 in the first, but the ill guard did still manage to chip in 7 rebounds and 5 assists in a well rounded effort.
Clarkson did not have one of his better games either, which makes sense given that the Lakers basically need him and/or Lin to go supernova to win, but still scored 14 points on 14 shots. For Toronto, James Johnson was key off of the bench with 17 points on only 10 shots off of the bench to make up for the struggles of DeRozan, who went 1-10, even missing a dunk at one point.
With a loss to put the tank back on track, the Lakers next visit Brooklyn to take on the Nets.