The Toronto Raptors were in need of a critical win after losing three straight and they were in luck tonight as they finally found their groove. Lead by Kyle Lowry’s 25 points the Raptors were able to secure a 102-91 victory of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both teams were tied at 66 in the closing minutes of the third quarter before the Raptors bench decided to put on a show. Orchestrated by Cory Joseph, the Raptors went on a 21-9 run that continued throughout the fourth quarter, having them up by as many as 16. It seemed as if the Raptors had put the Lakers to bed but Kobe Bryant and the Lakers responded with a run of their own late in the fourth, cutting the Raptors lead to just 7 with 3:34 left to play. The Raptors played it cool, calm and collective late, having DeMar DeRozan seal the deal with a spin move with 1:25 remaining, finishing with 18 points.
Hot shooting from deep kept the Raptors in charge for most of this contest, nailing 15-33 from beyond the arc. The ball movement was finally visible with great spacing that allowed the Raptors to find easy looks. Raptors matched their season high with 15 three-pointers. Credit Terrence Ross who returned after missing six games with a thumb injury, providing an extra threat from deep.
Raptors defence wasn’t great early but had its moments in the second half. The Raptors defence forced the Lakers to 15 turnovers, allowing just 91 points in this game. Huge improvement for the Raptors who allowed a combined 105 points in their last three games. Not the worst defensive performance by the Raptors but nothing to be proud of as the Lakers are nothing special.
The Raptors defence shall be tested on Sunday as they take on Blake Griffin and the Clippers to end their five-game road trip.
Toronto was out-rebounded in the first half 26-17 but they completely switched the script in the second half out-rebounding the Lakers 24-15 with both teams finishing with 41 total rebounds. It was team effort on the glass as every single player who was out there for the Raptors grabbed at least one rebound.
Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
Of course, Lowry didn’t let the Raptors have this game slip away from them as he was clicking on all cylinders tying his career-high in three points made with seven. Lowry was a (+14) on the night with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Update on Jonas Valanciunas:
Jonas Valanciunas did not return for the Raptors in the second half who went to get X-rays on his left hand that he hurt in the second quarter, revealing a fracture of the fourth metacarpal. He is out and expected to receive further testing. Cross your fingers as Jonas is a crucial piece to the Raptors success.