Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon road contest at Toronto, the Lakers aiming to conclude their 6-game road trip with a victory to improve to 3-3, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Raptors: J. Calderon, D. Derozan, J. Johnson, A. Johnson, A. Gray
7:15 Taking a page out of Boston’s book from Thursday night, the Raptors were aggressively trapping Kobe early, and that didn’t wind up being a good idea early, as the Lakers made 5-of-7 shots to start, including two straight jumpers by an open Pau Gasol, to claim a 13-4 lead.
5:00 Despite the chilly Toronto air, the Lakers were barely missing anything, as Matt Barnes (just in for World Peace) nailed a three, Bynum dunked and Kobe hit a turnaround to put L.A. up 24-8. Ten of those points came in the paint as Bynum got two dunks and a leaner to already double his scoring production (six points) in New York.
0:30.0 Rookie Andrew Goudelock buried the fourth LAL three in five attempts, and Bynum tipped in a Kobe miss at the buzzer to cap a 34-19 first quarter in which they shot 70 percent. The Raptors did eventually find some scoring in Leandro Barbosa off the bench, his six quick points keeping the Raptors within 15 points heading into the second quarter.
8:40 The second unit built on what the starters had provided, watching the lead climb to 41-24 when Goudelock pulled off a pretty crossover into a pull-up jumper. Toronto answered with a 5-0 run to climb back within 12, but Murphy rose to hit his second three of the game thanks to a kick out from double-teamed Bynum.
0:56.3 Even as the Raptors mounted a stronger charge, making some nice plays on O, L.A. continued to have the answer. Gasol pulled up for a long two to reach 12 points with his six boards and four assists, keeping his team up 12 at 54-42. And he wasn’t the only Spaniard playing very well, as Toronto’s Jose Calderon led all scorers with 13 points on 6-of-9 field goals, almost all coming on long jumpers. At the half, it was 54-46, the Raptors capping an 11-4 run on strength of two missed Bynum free throws and a coast-to-coast James Johnson dunk.
8:20 It was not a good start to the third for L.A., as Bynum, Kobe and Gasol all missed bunnies near the rim, while the Raptors got two more jumpers from Calderon and two DeRozan free throws to cut the formerly 18-point lead to just three at 56-53.
6:00 Halfway through the quarter, L.A. had gotten only one field goal, from World Peace, a three. The rest of the starters were a combined 0-for-8, and in the meantime, Fisher got called for four personal fouls … in six minutes. He just started shaking his head as Steve Blake came in out of a time out, not necessarily agreeing with the calls. Toronto remained within three.
3:25 L.A. finally got something going on offense, with Bryant capping a 9-1 run with a pull-up three pointer to restore L.A.’s lead to double figures at 68-57. Bryant was up to a team-high 16 points, two more than Gasol, who also had 12 rebounds already.
10:00 Wide open misses continued to plague the Lakers, as Barnes missed a put-back layup at the rim, and Bynum missed from three feet. The Raptors took full advantage, cutting L.A.’s 6-point lead at the quarter break to just one, until Goudelock dropped a floater to make it 75-72.
4:51 But just when L.A. created some space again with a Bryant three, Toronto scored five straight to cut the lead to just one. Calderon continued to do big damage, reaching a season-high 23 points on a deep triple, then going even further by nailing his fourth three pointer to tie the game.
1:23 A costly turnover with L.A. already trailing by four got the Raptors an extra possession (the 15th T.O.), but Kleiza went in-and-out on a three. The Raptors had taken a 4-point lead behind hoops from Davis and Kleiza, and Calderon answered Bynum’s dunk with another jumper (28 points on 12-of-17 FG’s). L.A. had some serious work to do to avoid a 2-4 road trip.
0:00 Kobe came up absolutely huge down the stretch with three straight plays for L.A., first nailing a pull-up three to cut Toronto’s lead to one, then stripping Kleiza and feeding World Peace for a transition layup to make it 91-90, then nailing an even bigger shot from the baseline to counter Calderon’s go-ahead shot (30 points). The shot came from 17 feet, on the baseline in front of Toronto’s bench, and swished home with 4.8 seconds to play. The Raptors were then hit with a 5-second call, allowing Kobe two free throws (he improbably missed one) after the catch, and it was World Peace playing great defense as DeRozan attempted a game-winning three as time expired (air ball). As such, the Lakers escaped Toronto with a much-needed victory.
We’ll see you back in Los Angeles, finally, on Tuesday.