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Home Team: Lakers / Lakers History vs. Raptors
|Game #17 – November 30, 2014 (OT)|
|Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA|
Team Leaders Lakers
Points – Bryant 31, Young 20, Boozer 18
Rebounds – Hill 12, Bryant 11, Boozer 9
Assists – Bryant 12, Price 4, Lin 3
Team Leaders Raptors
Points – Lowry 29, Ross 20, 2 Players with 19
Rebounds – Patterson 13, Valanciunas 13, Lowry 6
Assists – Lowry 9, Vasquez 5, Johnson 4
The Lakers should feel pretty good about themselves on their long flight home, as they finished up a seven-game road trip with a 6-1 record, after a 120-110 win over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Kobe Bryant, playing with a sprained pinkie on his shooting hand, scored 20 points in only 28 minutes, as the Lakers used the bench for big minutes on this day. Pau Gasol scored 19 to go along with 8 rebounds in just over 30 minutes of action.
In fact the Lakers’ bench outscored the Raptors’ bench 57-27, led by Andrew Bynum’s 16 points and seven rebounds, easily his best game since his return on Tuesday. Shannon scored 14 points, Matt Barnes had 12, and even seldom-used Luke Walton scored a season-high nine points. The Lakers bench also hit 6-12 from the three-point line.
It was a game the Lakers had control of by the middle of the second quarter, yet they never could quite put the Raptors away, despite having as much as a 16-point lead at 68-52, early in the third quarter. The injury-depleted Raptors continued to make a game of it, but never were able to get any closer than six points in the second half.
Linas Kleiza led all scorers with 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Former USC star DeMar DeRozan had a brilliant third quarter with 19 points, and scored 23 for the game, including 11-11 from the foul line. Jose Calderon chipped with in a double-double, scoring 20 points and dishing out 12 assists.
For the game, the Lakers shot 51.9% (41-79) from the floor and outrebounded Toronto 46-35. The Lakers also went to the foul line 39 times, making 31 of them for 79.5%. But it really was the bench that did most of the damage on this day, as their play continued to keep the Lakers safely ahead when the Raptors would make runs to get back in the game.
It is not uncommon for Phil Jackson to play his bench big minutes on the last game of a long a road trip, and with the Lakers’ depth this year, it makes it an even easier decision for the coaching staff.
The Lakers have now beaten their last four opponent by at least 10 points, and have won five in a row, their longest winning streak since starting the season 8-0. They’re now 11-5 on the road.
The champs return home for two games this week, Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, and of course the game of the year in the NBA, Christmas Day against the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the Miami Heat. The Lakers also play seven of their next 10 at the friendly confines of Staples Center.
There is little doubt who the MVP of the Lakers has been the first two weeks of the season. Pau Gasol continues to dominate all opponents, notching his fourth career triple-double, as the Lakers blasted the Portland Trail Blazers 121-96 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Gasol scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and had 10 assists as the defending NBA champions stayed undefeated and moved to 7-0 on the season. For the big Spaniard, it was his first triple-double since February 17, 2009 against the Atlanta Hawks.
It was also the Lakers’ second triple-double in three games, as Kobe Bryant got his 17th last Tuesday in Sacramento.
Lamar Odom also kept his All-Star-caliber play going, with 21 points and 12 rebounds, hitting 10-15 from the field. Kobe Bryant had another extended night of rest, playing less than 25 minutes and scoring just 12 points.
Bryant wasn’t needed on this night, as the Lakers took control of the game from the opening tip, led by 13 after one quarter, and opened it up to 58-36 at halftime. The Blazers never got back into the game in the second half and shot just 42.7% from the field, to the Lakers’ season-high 54.9%.
The game was quite a switch from Friday night, when the Lakers struggled to put away the lowly Toronto Raptors, and expected an even tougher effort from a quality Portland team that always gives them a bad time.
The Lakers spread the offense around on this night, with seven players in double-figures. Shannon Brown hit 3-6 from beyond the arc en route to 15 points off the bench. Matt Barnes had 13 points and six rebounds off the bench, Derek Fisher scored 12, and Ron Artest had 11, also shutting down Blazer star Brandon Roy in the process.
Roy was hounded by Artest all night, scoring just eight points on 1-6 from the field. His only field goal came midway through the third quarter. Andre Miller led the visitors with 20 points, Nicolas Batum had 17, and Rudy Fernandez put in 13 off the bench.
The Lakers next play host to the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. They can match the second-best start in franchise history at 8-0 with a win in that game. Phil Jackson’s best start as a coach is 12-0, when his Chicago Bulls accomplished the feat in the 1996-97 season. That team went on to a 69-13 record and an NBA Championship.