Editor’s note: As we wait for real NBA basketball to return, we’re going to simulate the rest of the games that the Los Angeles Lakers have on their schedule on NBA 2K20.
The Los Angeles Lakers had their winning streak snapped by the Toronto Raptors on Thursday thanks in no small part to the maddening lineup changes coach Frank Vogel made before tip-off.
Not only did virtual Vogel decide to start Rajon Rondo ahead of Avery Bradley, for... reasons(?)... but he didn’t play Bradley at all, marking Bradley’s first DNP-CD of the season. In an equally confusing decision, Vogel let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso watch the entirety of the game from the bench and played Dion Waiters 17 minutes off the bench in his debut for the team.
And before you ask, no, I didn’t mess with the settings. Maybe virtual Jason Kidd is trying to pull a virtual coup?
With Bradley, Caldwell-Pope and Caruso keeping the bench warm, the Lakers’ perimeter defense plummeted, and they allowed the Raptors to shoot 48% from the field. Toronto’s guards also got to the free-throw line a ton, with Kyle Lowry accounting for 12 of the Raptors’ 42 free throw attempts. In comparison, the Lakers only attempted 19 freebies.
While one could look at that stat and argue that the Raptors just got more calls, the reality is that they only got more calls because their new starter, Rondo, couldn’t guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 26 points on 5-12 shooting from the field, including 5-12 from behind the arc.
And just like in their real-life loss to the Raptors, the Lakers also had no answer for Pascal Siakam, who scored a game-high 46 points on a near-perfect 18-22 shooting from the field, including 6-6 from 3-point territory to. Again, the perimeter defense was non-existent, which is why it didn’t matter that LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 50 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It also didn’t help that the only other shooters that played — Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma — shot a combined 5-25 from the field.
Making matters even worse, it appeared the virtual version of Green didn’t even get the matrix version of his championship ring during the homecoming. Just a diabolical loss all around.
Here are the full box scores for both teams:
With a loss to the Raptors, the Lakers got swept in the season series against the defending NBA champions. They also fell to 55-15, but with a 5.5 game cushion over the No. 2 seed Denver Nuggets, they didn’t fall in the standings.
The Lakers will travel to Cleveland on Thursday to take on the Cavaliers. Hopefully Vogel will re-adjust the rotation before then.
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