The Raptors (18:47) came back straight from the Corona lag to face West Los Angeles Lakers (15:50), who also came away with a derby win, but the Nick Ners players showed they were not really afraid of LeBron James & Co. and beat them 92 : 107.
The first half, which was close, ended with a small advantage for the Lakers (41:44) – a result that feels as if the two teams did not play for more than four months, which is true. Although LA continued at the same pace in the second half, it was mainly thanks to the champion’s excellent defense, which caused its opponent to lose 17 balls and also dominated under the baskets (40:51 on rebounds).
On the offensive side there was one player who gave the column in Toronto, and that’s not who you think. Kyle Laurie finished a huge game with 33 points, 14 (!) Rebounds and six assists, aided by a wonderful evening from OJ Anonobi’s field (23 points, 88 percent from the field). Fred VanAllit added 13 points and mostly 11 assists. Pascal Siakam looked rusty and provided 15 points, to which he added nine rebounds, but did so on 5 of 17 from the field.
The Lakers, knowing that a win would finally secure them first place in the West until the playoffs, failed to put the balls in the ring and finished with only 36 percent from the field. LeBron James (20 points and 10 rebounds) was still about reasonable, but Anthony Davis added just 14 points (just two field goals) – and that way the NBA champion could not be defeated.
The dramatic loss to the Lakers was forgotten and tonight was much easier against New Orleans (38:28). The scoreboard until the break showed a crushing 55:77 and it seems that if the Clippers (21:45) had wanted to, the difference would have increased much more. But Doc Rivers – who climbed to 11th in the league in the number of wins (939) as he passes the legendary Red Auerbach – knows that the important thing right now is to win and move on. By the way, six more wins will put him in the NBA’s top ten club over Bill Fitch.
Paul George finished as the winner’s leading scorer with 28 points (8 of 11 from outside the arc) in 26 minutes on the floor, Leonard added 24 points, and in fact all 14 players who came up to play, also got on the board – an absolutely impressive statistic. If anyone forgot, the 15th player is of course Lou Williams, who is in solitary confinement following his time out at a strip club in Atlanta a little over a week ago.
What about the Pelicans? Not too much. Zion Williamson came out during the first half after spraining his ankle and the team preferred not to risk him, certainly when the difference was already very large. Brandon Ingram led the scenes in New Orleans, so to speak, with 14 points.