Well, the Lakers had to lose eventually. Sunday night was that night, as the team’s seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Toronto Raptors, who despite missing two of their best players in Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka rallied to defeat both the Lakers and L.A. nightlife, 113-104.
The back-and-forth game was tied at 78 at the end of the third, when Toronto promptly ripped off a 13-3 run to take a 91-81 lead and break the game wide open. Every Lakers attempt to rally was met at the rim by the ironically long arms of the Raptors, with L.A. failing to capitalize on two-straight 4-on-2 breaks as Toronto took a 104-92 lead.
Kyle Kuzma hit two late threes to make things interesting as the purple and gold started to get some stops to bring things closer, but ultimately it was too little, too late for the Lakers, with a dunk from rising Raptors star Pascal Siakam (24 points and 11 rebounds) essentially extinguishing any comeback hopes. Fred Van Vleet was also huge for the defending champions, dropping 23 points to go with 10 assists and 2 steals to help lead his undermanned roster to a win on the road.
As usual, the Lakers got a huge effort in the box score from LeBron James, who finished with a triple-double of 13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds, but he only shot 5-15 from the field. Anthony Davis was also solid, shaking off some obvious shoulder soreness in the third quarter to end the game with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Sill, the Lakers only shot 12-19 from the free-throw line, leaving free points on the table in a close loss. They also lost the battle of points in the paint 54-48, a normal point of strength for L.A., and a category the Lakers won’t win a lot of games without coming out on top in.
The loss dropped the Lakers to 7-2, and the team will look to rebound when they head to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Tuesday in the start of their first back-to-back of the season. We’ll see if they can start another streak in that one.