Pau Gasol vs. Raptors - 11.05.10

Pau Gasol scores two of his 30 points against the Raptors.

When the Lakers look back on this season, Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors won’t be remembered as one to save for a time capsule, just as a victory.   The Lakers shook off a terrible defensive game, and beat a gritty Raptor team 108-103 at Staples Center, to move to 6-0 on the season.

When the Lakers jumped out to a 33-20 lead after one quarter, it looked like the game was headed for extended minutes of garbage time, and another short night for the starters.  But the young Raptors, learning about life after Chris Bosh, responded to the adversity on the road and stormed back to take a 58-55 lead into halftime.  

The game went back and forth in the third, before the Lakers finally got the lead for good late in the quarter. They held on down the stretch for the win despite some uncharacteristic, shaky play in the last minute.

The Raptors dominated inside and on the boards all night, getting to the basket at will against the bigger Lakers, and outrebounding the world champs 49-31.   The Lakers appeared confused on defense all through the game, and had trouble boxing out, as the Raptors also had 19 offensive rebounds to keep them afloat after the Lakers’ early lead.

Pau Gasol had another impressive offensive game, scoring 30 points on 12-22 shooting.  He grabbed only seven rebounds, and didn’t have a single board until midway through the third quarter.  It was just that kind of night.  Kobe Bryant scored 23 points with six assists, and Steve Blake had 14 points, making 4-6 from the 3-point line.   Shannon Brown added 12 points off the bench.

The Raptors had six players in double figures, led by Leandro Barbosa off the bench with 17, and USC-product DeMar DeRozan with 15.  Amir Johnson off the bench had 12 points, and a game and career-high 15 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end.  Andrea Bargnani  and Jose Calderon each added 14 points.

The Lakers did outshoot the Raptors from the field hitting 48.1% to 47.1%, and only turned the ball over 12 times.  But those were the few statistical categories the Lakers did win, besides the most important stat, the final score. The Raptors scored 38 points in the second quarter to erase the Lakers early 13-point lead.

Luke Walton saw his first action of the year, playing a little over six minutes and taking just one shot.  He had been bothered by a strained hamstring since training camp.

The Lakers look to stay undefeated when they face Brandon Roy and the Portland Trail Blazers at home on Sunday. The Blazers, who always give the Lakers a hard time, are off to a good start at 4-2, despite missing their top two centers Greg Oden, and Joel Przybilla, both still recovering from serious knee injuries last year.

Link: Lakers vs. Raptors Box Score