It was the Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry show on Sunday night as the Toronto Raptors went into Staples Center and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 121-114. Toronto entered the night’s proceedings without Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr and Chris Boucher but managed to pull out an impressive result against a fairly healthy Lakers side.
Toronto has struggled mightily in the second half of back-to-backs this season, and needed a monster effort from Siakam and Lowry to gain a lead in the second quarter and carry it all the way home. Siakam finished with 39 points on 15/26 from the field, pitching in with 13 rebounds and 4 assists to boot. Lowry was just as dominant, totalling 37 points alongside 3 rebounds and 11 dimes on the evening. Deandre Bembry provided some much-needed energy off of the bench with 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Freddie Gillespie had one of his best games in a Raptors uniform, finishing with 11 points and 7 boards.
For Los Angeles, Kyle Kuzma led the way off of the bench with 24 points on 8/16 shooting, and Lebron James posted a stat line of 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists in his second game back from injury. Unfortunately James left the game midway through the fourth quarter, after apparently re-aggravating the right ankle injury that caused him to miss 20 games. Andre Drummond recorded a 19-point 11-rebound double-double in the loss, while Anthony Davis was held to just 12 points on 5/16 shooting to go alongside 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
Toronto entered Sunday’s contest with losses in 4 of their last 5, mainly due to their inability to close games in the fourth quarter. The Raptors have been in a position to win nearly all of those contests, but were unable to find offence when it mattered. Against the Lakers though, Lowry and Siakam stepped up time and time again in the clutch when they were needed most, especially in the case of Lowry who seemed as if he could not miss in the fourth. The Lakers pushed hard late in the quarter, but even their impressive resurgence was not enough to cancel out the contributions of Pascal and Kyle.
The Raptors gave up 38 points in the first quarter, and the game initially looked as if it could get away from them quickly. Being the second night of a back to back, Toronto travelled in with tired legs, but managed to perform better as the game drew on. Siakam especially began to turn it on as things moved into the second frame, helping Toronto post a 40 bomb in the quarter, giving the 2019 champs a 13-point lead going into the half. The Raptors continued their sturdy play in the third, and as previously mentioned, did enough to fight their late game demons and walk away with a 121-114 win.
In terms of scoreboard watching, neither the Washington Wizards or Chicago Bulls were in action Sunday night, meaning Toronto only picked up half a game in their upwards climb for the 10th and final play-in position. The Raptors now find themselves 3 games back of Washington with 7 games remaining, and would have to play nearly perfect basketball the rest of the way to qualify, all while receiving some help from the Wizards future opponents.
Moving forward, the Lakers will look to bounce back on Monday in the second half of a back-to-back against the tricky Denver Nuggets, while Toronto will look for the LA sweep as they take on the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Siakam – 39 PTS 13 REB 4 AST
Lowry – 37 PTS 2 REB 11 AST
Bembry – 14 PTS 8 REB 1 AST
Kuzma – 24 PTS 3 REB 0 AST
James – 19 PTS 7 REB 6 AST
Davis – 12 PTS 9 REB 7 AST
Drummond – 19 PTS 11 REB 1 AST