With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Patrick Beverley and Wenyen Gabriel all ruled out at various points before the game; the Lakers didn’t have the players to really compete with the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back. They fell 123-116 in a night Laker Nation would like to forget.
Toronto’s big three shined, with Pascal Siakam scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 boards, Fred Van Vleet leading all scorers with 25 and O.G. Anunoby adding 23 points of his own. The Lakers had Russell Westbrook giving his all; he ended the night with 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, but that was nowhere near enough, as the Lakers (10-14) are now four games under .500.
With AD and Bron absent, there was less talent or size for coach Darvin Ham to work with. He opted for a lineup of Austin Reaves, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Thomas Bryant, Lonnie Walker IV and Dennis Schröder to start the game. That group was not effective, starting the game down 11-0. The lack of offense forced Ham to bring Russell Westbrook in two minutes earlier than he’s accustomed to entering the game and the team settled down with Russ running the point. They still trailed 39-31 after the one, but Russ playing nine minutes and leading the team in points, assists and rebounds helped avoid an early disaster.
Midway through the second quarter, the Raptors struggled to score. They went nearly three minutes without a basket, but the Lakers were unable to take advantage scoring only two points during this drought. On the road, with so many weapons missing, you have to take advantage of every opportunity available. The basketball Gods punished the Lakers for this sin and the Raptors went on a 16-0 run and opened the game wide open. With poor three-point shooting, no player in double digits in points, and getting out-rebounded by double digits, the Lakers headed to the locker room down 70-47 with little hope of turning things around.
Down by 23, the second half was a lot of cardio work for the Lakeshow. Reaves had a nice five-point burst in the middle of the third, but the Lakers never closed the gap significantly. No fake comeback tonight, and the second half was essentially garbage time as the Lakers lost their second game in as many nights.
There is very little to take away from this game but of the few bright spots was Schröder. He had a rough game against Cleveland last night, but tonight was a nice bounce-back for him. He ended the night with 18 points shooting 50% from the field. His starting spot will be secure if he can build off this game and be this effective as a scorer.
At 2-2 on this road trip, have the Lakers won half their games or lost half their games? For me, it's games half won. Back-to-backs are challenging and with AD getting sick and James resting his ankle, it was unrealistic to expect much from this team tonight. Before the start of this trip, AD said the goal was to end the trip with a 4-2 record. That is still very much a possibility. They just need to win out the rest of this trip, starting with their matchup against the Sixers on Friday at 4:30 pm PDT.