Lakers 120, Raptors 110: Dec. 19 Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon road game at Toronto, the final of a six-game trek through the Midwest and East Coast, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Raptors: J. Calderon, D. DeRozan, L. Kleiza, A. Johnson, E. Davis*
Davis, a rookie, was starting for Toronto’s best player Andrea Bargnani (ankle), the former No. 1 overall pick who leads the Raptors with 21.4 points per game.

FIRST QUARTER
10:00 Maybe they like early starts after all? Generally a team that stays on Pacific time, Phil Jackson worries about how ready his team will be for 1 p.m. Eastern starts, such as Sunday’s in Toronto. But this time, the Lakers opened 3-for-3 from the field, as did the Raptors, for a 7-6 LAL advantage (Artest hit a three), this after Friday’s game in Philly when neither team scored for two minutes.

6:00 Playing without Bargnani, the Raptors did well to open a 15-13 lead thanks to their generally scrappy play. After all, a team with such limited talent probably shouldn’t have 10 wins. But on the next two possessions, Gasol got nasty at the rim with a one-hander in Amir Johnson’s face, and Bryant faked DeMar DeRozan out of his shorts before spinning for a baseline jam.

0:04.0 Andrew Bynum closed the quarter by grabbing his second offensive board and sticking the ball back in through traffic, bringing the Lakers within six at 34-28. Toronto had been on fire, making 15-of-25 field goals (60 percent) including Johnson’s perfect 6-of-6, while L.A. hadn’t moved the ball well at all, notching only three assists on 10 field goals. Bryant, playing with his sore pinky after scoring just nine points in Philadelphia, took seven shots often out of isolation sets.

SECOND QUARTER
6:00 Go back and check the last two running diaries and you’ll see this same type of sentence: L.A.’s bench was terrific to start the second quarter. Obviously, Bynum’s return has solidified the rotation, and in Canada, the Killer B’s plus Luke Walton (six points) and either Bynum or Gasol outscored Toronto 14-5 in the first six minutes of the second to open a 44-41 lead.

4:00 Great Canada Dry ginger ale from the Raptors media room. Yum. Wish Celine Dion had been present for “Oh Canada,” but what can you do.

0:01.4 Bynum concluded his best half of basketball in four games with a strong block of Calderon’s layup attempt against the glass, seconds after he’d hit his fifth and sixth free throws of the game to total eight points with two boards. His presence again affording Gasol and Odom extra energy, the Lakers outscored Toronto 29-15 in the second quarter, again getting strong play from the Killer B’s.

THIRD QUARTER
8:59 While the bench got L.A. on the right foot in the second, it was the starters exerting their will in the third, going on an 11-3 run to push the lead to a comfortable 16 points at 68-52. Bryant scored seven points, and fed Gasol for a wide-open look to get the two All-Stars to a combined 30 points.

8:35 What a way to pass Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. Bryant, needing 18 points in the game to surpass Olajuwon for third on the NBA’s all-time franchise scoring list (with one team), got a three to fall after it hit the top of the backboard, giving him 19, the record, and the Lakers a 71-55 lead.

4:05 Taking advantage of some Lakers turnovers (L.A.’s bigs were left looking for calls with Toronto swiping away in the paint), Toronto reeled off an 11-2 run to cut L.A.’s lead down to six at 76-70. The Lakers would get the lead back up to 10 on two Barnes free throws, but Barbosa intercepted an inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining and got a halfcourt buzzer-beater to fall off glass, making it 86-79 LAL after three.

FOURTH QUARTER
8:15 Did we mention that Lakers bench? Brown and Bynum combined for eight consecutive points to push the team’s bench to 47 points, re-opening the team’s double-digit lead in the process.

4:37 Bynum continued his best game of the season with a put-back of his own miss, allowing him 16 points and seven boards, and Blake nailed his second three to push L.A.’s lead back to 11 after the scrappy Raptors continued to fight back. At that point, L.A.’s bench had outscored its starters 54-52.

POSTGAME NUMBERS
26,514 Points for Kobe Bryant in his career thanks to his 20 against Toronto, pushing him past Hakeem Olajuwon for third on the NBA’s all-time franchise scoring list. Only Michael Jordan and Karl Malone had scored more points for their franchises in league history.

57 Bench points for the Lakers in a fantastic second unit effort.

56 Points in the paint for the Lakers, who took advantage of their superior length with the Pau Gasol (19 points, eight boards), Lamar Odom (11 points, seven boards) and Andrew Bynum (16 and seven) combination.

16 Points for Bynum in his best game of the season. Even without being fully comfortable jumping and landing, Bynum made 4-of-6 field goals, and hit 8-of-10 free throws as Toronto simply couldn’t handle his size. He added seven boards and a block.

5 Consecutive wins for the Lakers on their 6-game road trip after an opening loss to the Chicago Bulls to improve the team’s mark to 21-7 on the season.