Kobe Bryant’s 34 points on an efficient 12 of 20 from the field led the way for the Lakers as they outfought the Raptors in the second half, 117-108. Lamar Odom helped back Kobe, scoring 20 points and pulling down nine rebounds while helping L.A. withstand a quiet 12 points from center Pau Gasol.
“We did an ok job defensively, the first half is always an adjustment to get used to these type of teams the way they play,” said Bryant. “I think in the second half we did a much better job.”
The Lakers allowed the Chris Boshless Raptors to hover dangerously close to them for much of the game until finally putting the undermanned Raptors away for good in the latter half of the fourth quarter.
“I thought that we came out and played ourselves into a deficit in the ball game by playing too fast,” said Coach Jackson. “But we played a solid second half, except for a couple turnovers, we eliminated some of the things we did in the first half and kind of grounded out more or less.”
However, despite an outstanding performance from point guard T.J. Ford off of the bench (28 points), the Lakers’ three point attack proved too much for Toronto in the end. In all, the Lakers made 15 of 32 attempts from beyond the arc, led by four three pointers each from Kobe and Derek Fisher.
“That’s one of the things you have to live by but those shots, the numbers of them, the bounces, length of the rebounds, all contribute to the energy that team played with,” Jackson said.
Still, Jackson expressed concern over his team’s penchant for allowing smaller guards to penetrate deep into the lane and either score or dish the ball out to an open teammate. Although the Raptors are primarily known as an outside shooting team, the Lakers allowed them to score 42 points in the point.
“We have to do a better job, not only with Ford, but the fact that we gave up 42 points in the paint to a team that is really an outside shooting team,” said Jackson. “I think one of the remarkable things tonight in this game but Ford’s penetration hurt us, got some rhythm in that second half, he played a good first half but really got into a rhythm in the second half.”
The loss comes on the heels of a surprising defeat to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night and before a four game road trip that will see the Lakers play four teams who already have 40 or more wins.
“Well we are just going to take it one game at a time, I told them basically we aren’t going to beat any of those games if we play like we have played the last two or three games,” said Jackson.