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Lakers get blown out by Kawhi-less Raptors at home

The Lakers were no match for the Raptors, even with Kawhi Leonard sidelined.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a spirited four quarter run, the Los Angeles Lakers (4-6) were blown out by the Toronto Raptors (9-1) 121-107 on Sunday at Staples Center. Even without two-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, the Raptors controlled the pace of the game from the jump.

Midway through the first quarter, Toronto was leading by as much as 31 points. The Lakers ended the quarter down 25 points, which was their worst first quarter quarter deficit in franchise history according to Kristian Winfield of SB Nation.

The Lakers cut the deficit to 10 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. The Raptors are far and away a better team than the Lakers are currently, but the Lakers didn’t do much to help themselves on either end of the floor.

While the Lakers did make a decent amount of their field goal attempts (45.9 percent), they were ice cold from behind the 3-point line, making just 6 of their 24 total 3-point attempts. Their first 3-point make didn’t come until midway through the third quarter.

The Raptors shot below their season average from behind the arc on Sunday, but they attempted and made more 3-pointers than the Lakers by a pretty wide margin. As many expected, the lack of shooting on the roster is a problem with no immediate solution in sight.

Defensively, the Lakers looked as bad as they have looked all season, allowing 42 points in the first quarter alone and 121 points total.

A lot has been made about the Lakers’ stagnant offense in the halfcourt, and rightfully so, but their biggest weakness this season has been defense. Adding another big body to protect the paint in Tyson Chandler should help some, but it won’t do much for the transition defense, where they struggled the most against Toronto.

With a loss on Sunday, the Lakers fell to 4-6 on the season. While team president Magic Johnson said head coach Luke Walton is safe for now, this embarrassing loss couldn’t have come at a worse time for Walton.

The Lakers will have the next two days to regroup before they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Los Angeles lost to the Timberwolves 124-120 on Oct. 29.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.

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