Monthly Archive for January, 2013

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Lakers – Jazz Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 102-84 win against Utah:

53.8
Percent shooting for L.A. from the floor and the charity stripe. The Lakers’ top four players all converted greater than a 50 percent clip from the floor, led by Pau Gasol’s 7 for 8 off the bench. And as physical as Utah typically plays (they rank third in the league in fouls committed), the Lakers only attempted 13 free throws, Dwight Howard only shooting three.

45
Rebounds for the Lakers, who owned a plus-15 in that category. Pregame, coach Mike D’Antoni noted crashing the glass and limiting Utah’s second-chance opportunities would be key. The Jazz finished with nine offensive boards toward 12 points, far less than the 16 and 23, respectively, they posted in the last meeting.

14
Dimes for Kobe Bryant, one shy of his career high set in Feb. 2002. He played the role of facilitator early, assisting on four of the Lakers first six baskets, and finishing with five total in the opening 12 minutes of the game. Bryant closed the night one rebound shy of his 19th career triple-double – 14 points, 14 assists and nine boards.

7
Straight points for L.A. to open the game; after three-plus minutes, Utah was already down double digits. The Lakers led from wire-to-wire, and by as much as 21 points, in snapping their four-game skid.

5
Field-goal makes for Metta World Peace, all three-pointers. World Peace also spent time guarding Jazz power forward Paul Millsap – 10 points on 5 for 11 shooting – one game after battling Memphis’ Zach Randolph down low.

2
Blocked shots for Howard, although the big man altered numerous others. Howard finished with a double-double – 17 points and 13 rebounds – for the first time in his last four games. His activity and energy early on was evident as he recorded eight and six in the opening quarter.

Lakers 102, Jazz 84: Jan. 25 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday night contest against Utah at Staples Center, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Clark and Howard
Jazz: J. Tinsley, R. Foye, M. Williams, P. Millsap, A. Jefferson

FIRST QUARTER
7:58 It was a fantastic start for the Lakers on both ends, with Dwight Howard anchoring the defense and dunking two Bryant alley-oops, while Metta World Peace drained two three-pointers (also both Kobe assists) to make it a 15-4 early lead. L.A.’s problem has been sustaining effort, however, and Utah responded with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to two. Pau Gasol checked in at the 5:55 mark for Earl Clark, but missed two foul shots after drawing an immediate foul.

1:02 The Lakers, however, had an answer for that run, pushing the margin right back to 10 when Earl Clark finished a tricky layup driving from left to right. Gasol had been solid off the LAL bench, with a quick bucket over Millsap and some nice work on D, though he did miss all but 1 of 4 free throws. Utah did get a lucky jumper (Gordon Hayward definitely didn’t call bank, he’ll admit it) & a nice block in transition to stop Chris Duhon’s layup attempt near the buzzer, enough to cut the lead to 26-19 after one. Still, a solid quarter from L.A., looking little like the team that just lost three straight road games (at least for 12 minutes).

SECOND QUARTER
5:35 With two World Peace free throws, L.A. took a 35-29 lead, as Bryant and Nash returned after getting more rest than usual in the second quarter. Bryant had amassed five assists in the first quarter alone, and added two more pretty quickly, for a game-high seven. Bryant hadn’t had six assists since the team’s last win, over Milwaukee, so that was a good sign for the Lakers.

0:00 A very strong first half for the home team allowed a 47-37 lead at the break, with neither team scoring in the final 1:44 after Bryant’s jumper made it a 10-point game. Kobe had eight points with his seven dimes to lead the way, while Howard amassed 10 rebounds and two blocks alongside eight points, controlling the paint on both ends. The big pre-game key from L.A.’s coaches was limiting Utah’s second-chance points, and the players certainly delivered, holding the Jazz to only two by dominating the glass 25-14.

THIRD QUARTER
5:16 It’s very difficult for opposing defenses to match up with a rested Gasol off L.A.’s bench, and his jumper over Millsap put the Lakers up 11 late in the third. However, Utah responded with an 8-2 run to cut L.A.’s lead to five with 3:15 to go, capping the burst with a layup off Nash’s third turnover.

0:00 With 2:37 left, Utah was within just three points at 61-58 thanks to a 6-0 run. But then, the Black Mamba came out as if he were Nash, dishing everywhere, tossing four straight assists resulting in 11 points. Duhon hit a three, MWP back-to-back threes and finally Meeks a reverse dunk, putting the Lakers back up nine at 72-63 after three quarters. Kobe had 12 assists to go with 10 points, three boards away from a triple-double.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:10 All Lakers to open the fourth with Duhon, Meeks, MWP, Gasol and Howard on the floord. The Spaniard continued his terrific play off L.A.’s bench by hitting consecutive shots, scoring six points in the first three minutes of the quarter, then setting a screen to get MWP his fifth triple of the game. Adding to the onslaught was Meeks, who stole the ball in the backcourt and sprinted to a tough and-1 layup through traffic. That put the Lakers up 86-69, as Bryant and Nash stood and clapped while resting on the bench.

5:18 The Black Mamba had a nice rest, but immediately made his presence felt when checking back in, first with a dirty finger-roll layup after putting Hayward in the popcorn machine and stepping in with perfect footwork, then a breakaway dunk off his own steal. That gave him 14 points to go with the 12 assists and eight boards, the Lakers taking a 92-74 lead, on the verge of their first January win against a Western Conference opponent.

1:26 For good measure, Nash (err, I mean, Kobe) tossed his 14th assist, getting Howard cutting to the hoop for a layup that put the Lakers up 99-80. Bryant had also grabbed his ninth rebound before checking out. Terrific game for Benjamin Button.

0:00 The final: 102-84, Lakers. It was a total team effort, spearheaded by Bryant and Howard (17 points, 13 rebounds) with plenty of help from Gasol (15 points, seven boards, three assists in 26 minutes) and Nash (15 points), not to mention World Peace and his five three-pointers. The key for the Lakers, of course, will be bottling this feeling and style up and carrying it forward to try and make a run in the second half of the season. Up next is a tough test on Sunday against OKC; we’ll see you there.

Lakers – Grizzlies Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 106-93 loss at Memphis, their seventh straight road defeat:

106
Points for Memphis, a team that ranked 28th in the league in points per game (92.9) prior. They had not scored more than 85 in seven of their last eight games, including their last six. The Grizzlies improved to 12-0 when breaking the century mark and held the opposition under 100 points for the 37th time in 41 contests this year (a league best). Memphis also tied a season-high with 60 paint points, the third time they’ve reached that mark this season.

35
Percent shooting for the Lakers in the second half on 14 of 40 from the floor. After starting 7 for 9 in the first half, Kobe Bryant shot 4 of 14 in the last two quarters, although he still finished 11 for 23. Postgame, though, forward Earl Clark acknowledged L.A. stood around and watched, instead of moving to get open on offense.

22
Plus-rating for Memphis forward Darrell Arthur, the highest of any player. In 28 minutes off the bench, Arthur recorded 20 points – a season high – on 9 for 15 from the floor, to go along with nine rebounds and three assists. In the second half alone, the Kansas product scored 14 points and grabbed six boards, taking advantage of the absence of Dwight Howard, who re-aggravated his shoulder injury and had to leave the game before halftime.

16
Offensive rebounds for the Grizzlies toward 27 second-chance points. Without Dwight Howard in the second half, the Lakers were out-rebounded 30-19 (52-34 advantage overall) and Memphis scored 16 points off extra opportunities.

10
Losses in the month of January for the Lakers (2-10 in 2013); the last time L.A. finished with at least that many defeats in a month was April 2005.

Lakers 93, Grizz 106: Jan. 23 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening contest at Memphis, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Clark and Howard
Grizzlies: M. Conley, T. Allen, R. Gay, Z. Randolph, M. Gasol

FIRST QUARTER
5:00 The big storyline for the Lakers out of Memphis came out of shootaround, as a team meeting was called in order for the players to air out their concerns about a team suddenly seven games under .500, something nobody imagined was possible before the season started. Among the topics were how the team had to start playing as one, particularly on D, and not let offensive shot distribution get in the way of how players worked together on the other end. For the first several minutes of the game, the meeting appeared to do a lot of good, as Dwight Howard in particular was flying around on defense, his team taking an 11-7 lead with both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph sitting with two fouls. L.A. was missing shots, hitting only 4 of 11, but had a good vibe on the floor.

0:00 Memphis, however, found its footing with two bench players, as Darrell Arthur scored a combined 11 points, mostly on jump shots, to give the Grizzlies a 24-23 lead after one quarter. Both had been empowered in their roles with Memphis trading away fellow subs Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights, and were certainly playing like it.

SECOND QUARTER
4:00 The Grizz have barely scored more than 85 points in two weeks, but with a sustained second quarter run in which nobody was missing (including little-known Tony Wroten, who had seven points) they suddenly took a 52-39 lead. L.A. had been up 30-28 when Gasol scored at the 9-minute mark, and then begun to turn the ball over (Nash had three and was struggling with ball pressure) and see Memphis score on the other end. L.A. was able to stop the bleeding a tough, with MWP hitting a corner three, Clark an and-1 layup and Bryant a tough reverse at the rim.

0:00 In what’s been a Murphy’s Law season, the Lakers got more bad news as Howard re-aggravated the shoulder injury he originally suffered on Jan. 4 against the Clippers. He was out for the game, and would be re-evaluated back in Los Angeles on Thursday. Meanwhile, Memphis took a 59-50 lead into halftime despite L.A. cutting it to six in the final seconds. Gasol, Clark and Bryant were all at the rim, but couldn’t convert several chances, and Rudy Gay took advantage by hitting a transition three on the other end with six seconds left.

THIRD QUARTER
8:57 With Howard on the bench and Gasol starting at center, it was Kobe still getting buckets, making his 10th shot in 13 attempts towards 22 points, enough to cut what had been a 15-point Grizzlies lead to three. Tony Allen, however, countered with consecutive buckets at the rim, taking advantage of the fact that L.A.’s rim protector was in the locker room icing his shoulder, to make it 65-58.

0:57.2 Bryant had been excellent on offense, but was carrying a heavy burden. Three straight misses dropped his total to 11 of 18, and he missed the third of four late free throws in the middle of consecutive Memphis dunks, first Arthur and then Marc Gasol, that put the home team up 83-70. Jodie Meeks did manage to help the Lakers at least close the quarter well by hitting a triple and then blocking Tony Wroten on the other end, but the deficit was 10 heading into the final quarter. L.A. had cut the lead to as few as four on the third World Peace three-pointer (he had 15 points on only five FGA’s and did a terrific job battling the bigger Zach Randolph on the other end), but couldn’t sustain it.

FOURTH QUARTER
0:00 The Lakers just didn’t have it, falling behind by 15 early in the period, and despite a final attempt to come back with Nash, Kobe and Gasol returning around the 9-minute mark, they deficit remained in double digits until being pushed to 21 with 2:06 to play. Kobe had 29 points, but made only four of 12 shots in the second half, a few of the misses due to no-calls at the rim when he took contact but got no whistle, producing one technical foul. Gasol checked out with 13 points and eight boards, but didn’t go inside much despite Howard’s absence, while Nash had a tough night with seven points on 2 of 6 shooting with eight assists and six turnovers in 34 minutes.

The final: 106-93 Grizz. It was the fourth consecutive loss, and 10th in 12 January games, as L.A. fell to a season-low eight games under .500 at 17-25. L.A. goes back home for a Thursday game against Utah; we’ll see you there.

Lakers – Bulls Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 95-83 loss at Chicago:

31.6
Percent shooting for Kobe Bryant in his last three contests (25 for 79), after a 7 for 22 performance. It was the third straight contest he had shot 32 percent or less, but Bryant is still at a 46.4 clip for the year.

22
Points from Kirk Hinrich – a season high – on 9 for 11 shooting (3 for 4 on 3-pointers). The Kansas product also recorded eight assists to just one turnover, and seven rebounds. For Hinrich, it was the best shooting night of his nine-year career when taking at least 10 shots.

14
Points for the Lakers in the fourth quarter, after outscoring Chicago 29-22 in the third to tie the game at 69 heading into the final frame. L.A. shot just 5 for 19 (26.3 percent) and the Bulls went on an 18-4 run over a six-minute period in the fourth to pull away.

9
Three-pointers for the Bulls, nearly double their season average. Chicago converted on 9 for 17 from deep (52.9 percent), two of them coming from Marco Belinelli in the last 3:35 of the fourth quarter that essentially put the game out of reach for L.A.

Looking Atop LAL in the West

Before the season started, not even the biggest cynic (or Celtics fan) would have believed that the Lakers would have a 17-24 record exactly halfway through the 2012-13 campaign.

But after losing its first six and last three games in January (2-9 overall), L.A. has fallen to a season-low seven games under .500, a full four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot (Houston, 22-21).

There’s plenty of blame to go around.

Injuries have robbed the Lakers of 24 games of Steve Nash and 13 of Pau Gasol, plus three from Dwight Howard, much of the season to Steve Blake and the rest of the season for Jordan Hill. A coaching change thrust an unfamiliar system upon the players five games in when Mike D’Antoni replaced Mike Brown, well before Nash returned, and players have struggled to get on the same page. The defense has just been bad (19th in defensive efficiency). Howard hasn’t looked close to the dominant player that made him a constant All-NBA 1st Teamer on either end of the floor, Kobe Bryant has tired in the past three games after shooting career-high percentages up to that point … and so on, and so forth.

For now, here’s a look at the Western standings, to see what the Lakers are looking at in a second half of a season-gone-wrong that they’re hoping to redeem.

SITTING PRETTY
1, 2, 3: Oklahoma City (32-9), L.A. Clippers (32-10) and San Antonio (33-11)
- It will be very difficult for anyone, let alone a Lakers’ team that’s 13 games behind the Spurs in the loss column, to catch these three. Neither of these teams has had a troubling stretch of play, and each display terrific on-court chemistry.

COMFORTABLE:
4, 5, 6: Memphis (26-14), Golden State (25-15) and Denver (25-18)
- L.A.’s Wednesday night opponent, the Grizzlies have slipped a bit, losing four of their last six games, and just made a trade with Cleveland through which they lose reserves Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington, but remain 10 games ahead of the Lakers in the loss column, a big number with 41 games to go.
- GSW have impressed considerably without center Andrew Bogut even while losing both games to the Lakers, and have showed consistent effort on both ends all season.
- Denver ably navigated the league’s toughest schedule to start the season and has won 7 of 10 games to pull seven games ahead of L.A., though the schedule difficulty has evened out a bit. According to ESPN.com, L.A. have played the 7th toughest schedule, and Denver the 4th. Yet the Nuggets may have the best chance of moving up should one of the top four current teams slip.

BORDERLINE:
7, 8: Utah (22-19), Houston (22-21) and then Portland (20-21), Minnesota (17-21) and Dallas (18-24)
- The Jazz have already beaten the Lakers twice, once at home and once on the road, not to mention twice in the preseason, and play L.A. only once more (next week at home). They’re up five in the L column.
- Houston, Portland and Minnesota have all struggled just as badly as the Lakers in January. The Rockets just snapped a 7-game losing streak with a narrow win at Charlotte (who hasn’t won a home game forever) and are only three games ahead of the Lakers in the loss column. Portland really struggles to get bench production, and have lost six straight. Minnesota is maybe the only team that’s been more affected by injuries than the Lakers, and has dropped seven of 10. In theory, L.A.’s sense-of-urgency pedal – at least mathematically – has thus needed to be pressed a bit more lightly than it could have been.
- On the other hand, Dallas is the lone team in this group playing well right now, as they’ve won five of six games and gotten Dirk Nowitzki back, enough to pull a half game ahead of the Lakers in the standings.

With all that laid out, the major point for the Lakers is simple: if they find themselves collectively, the playoffs are well within reach regardless of what number of wins may be required. And once there, a road victory in Game 1 or Game 2 of the first round can make up for much of the regular season struggles.

Of course, that L.A. turns it around as such is absolutely no guarantee; yet the opportunity is there with 41 games to go.

Lakers 83, Bulls 95: Jan. 21 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Monday night road contest against Chicago, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Clark and Howard
Bulls: K. Hinrich, R. Hamilton, J. Butler, C. Boozer, J. Noah

FIRST QUARTER
6:50 The big news before the game tipped off was a change in the starting line up, Mike D’Antoni opting to go small with Earl Clark at the four, and Pau Gasol to the bench to play backup center and anchor the second unit. It’s D’Antoni’s contention that the big line up of Dwight Howard at center and Gasol at power forward just wasn’t working well enough on either end, feeling that both units could play better with the two big guys split up. As for the game: some brute force from Metta World Peace helped the Lakers get back into things after the Bulls hit 4 of 6 shots to take an 8-2 lead, hitting three of four free throws with Chicago unable to defend him to make it 12-10.

2:32 Gasol came in alongside Jamison, replacing Howard and MWP, and the Lakers went right to him on the post. He drew a foul from Carlos Boozer on the first possession, but missed a wild shot on the second with Joakim Noah and Boozer defending. He wasn’t the only player missing, however, L.A. a collective 6 for 18; the Bulls weren’t having the same struggles, hitting 11 of 23 shots to take a 24-18 lead with Noah heading to the line for a clear path foul into a time out. They’d push their lead to seven after the first period.

SECOND QUARTER
5:53 The lead remained at seven after Nash hit a technical free throw on Nazr Mohammad – who was very upset with Howard for some reason – but the Lakers hadn’t found much of a rhythm on either end. Howard was some combination of frustrated and disconnected, with only three points and four boards through 13 minutes, though an aggressive Nash had 11 points on 4 of 7 field goals.

0:00 L.A. had cut the lead to just two on a put-back dunk from Clark, but then failed to score in the final 2:30+ of the period to allow Chicago to take a 47-40 lead into halftime. It was a disjointed performance from L.A. against a Derrick Rose and Luol Deng-less Bulls team, most notably with Howard failing to get involved on either end.

THIRD QUARTER
6:00 A mini run from the Lakers cut Chicago’s 10-point lead in half, but some sketchy defense saw Chicago build it right back up, with Kirk Hinrich hitting his third and his team’s seventh triple, compared to L.A.’s 1 for 10. Now, after reading that, forget about it, because the Lakers answered with a 6-0 run as Nash hit his second triple and Kobe finished an and-1 to get the Lakers within four.

3:36 L.A. had yet to lead, but an 11-2 (or 13-4 if you prefer after Jimmy Butler and Gasol exchanged made FG’s) run got the Lakers within a single point. Gasol was up to nine points on 4 of 6 field goals after hitting a second straight jumper, the Lakers starting to show solid rhythm on offense, and the effort improving on D. Jamison joined Gasol alongside MWP, Bryant and Chris Duhon, replacing Nash (16 points, six assists, four boards).

0:25.6 Finally, L.A. had a lead, as Kobe finished off his steal with a reverse layup on the other end, making it 69-67. Jimmy Butler, starting in Deng’s absence, did draw a foul and convert both free throws with 5.1 seconds left to tie it up into the fourth quarter, but alas, a 29-22 quarter for the visitors had given L.A. knew life heading into the fourth quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER
7:18 The Bulls opened the quarter on a 6-2 run despite Bryant and Gasol both being on the floor and the Bulls throwing their bench out, but responded with a 4-0 run (Gasol a brainy put-back of MWP’s air ball and two Howard free throws after he returned) to again tie the game (75-all). L.A.’s mojo seemed to have gone, the sluggish first half play returning.

4:08 LAL’s hole grew to eight with four minutes to play when the Bulls capped an 8-0 run with a tough Butler jumper over Kobe with just seconds on the shot clock off an inbounds pass. Then Belinelli hit a triple to push it to nine, even as Nash and Clark had countered with hoops to make it 86-79.

0:00 The Bulls just kept hitting, as Boozer and Hinrich dropped more mid range J’s, while the Lakers couldn’t throw anything in, dropping to perhaps a new low on the season with a final score of 95-83. The Lakers scored 29 points in the third, but could muster just 14 in the fourth after two FT’s with 4.4 seconds left from Gasol to make final score 95-83, Bulls. L.A. lost for a third consecutive time, falling to 17-24 on the season. Up next is a Wednesday game at Memphis; we’ll see you there.

Lakers – Raptors Postgame Numbers

We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 108-103 loss at Toronto:

54.8
Percent shooting for Toronto toward 108 points, a team that had come into the game averaging 97 points (12th in the league) and shooting 44 percent (20th). Jose Calderon, Landry Fields and Ed Davis combined for 58 points on 26 of 39 from the floor (66.7 percent).

32
Shots for Kobe Bryant, although he converted on just 10 of them. He shot just 3 for 12 from the 3-point line, and finished with 26 points, five assists and four rebounds. Bryant also had six turnovers, and postgame, took the blame for L.A.’s performance. “I just have to rest my legs,” he said. “My legs are a little tired and my shot is just short. That’s on me, I’ll take this loss on me gladly.”

17
Minutes for Dwight Howard after being ejected with 1:17 left in the first half. The Lakers center picked up his first technical foul with 4:43 in the opening frame after arguing a foul call, and then received another after getting tangled up with Alan Anderson after a free throw. Howard finished with five points and two rebounds.

14
Points and rebounds for Earl Clark off the bench in 35 minutes. The 6-foot-10 forward recorded nine points and eight boards in the first half alone, his energy allowing L.A. to close within four at halftime. He finished the game at plus-14, the only positive in the Lakers entire lineup.

11
Straight points for Toronto, after Steve Nash opened the game with a layup for the Lakers. The Raptors lead would swell to 16 points early and though L.A. cut it to within two during the third quarter, that was as close as it would get.

5
Losses in a row for the Lakers on the road, their record falling to 5-13 away from STAPLES Center. It is L.A.’s longest road skid in six years.

Lakers 103, Raptors 108: Jan. 20 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Sunday afternoon contest at Toronto, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Howard
Raptors: J. Calderon, D. DeRozan, L. Fields, E. Davis, A. Gray

FIRST QUARTER
5:46 L.A. couldn’t have started this game much worse, seemingly still in their hotel beds as the Raptors ran out to a 15-4 lead. The ball wasn’t moving well on offense, even open shots were missing (2 of 9) and offensive boards allowed were giving Toronto easy chances. Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark had come in for Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, only to see the Raptors hit two more jumpers to go up 15 points.

0:00 The visitors played a bit better to close the quarter, running the offense through Gasol on the low post as Howard rested, and getting Raptors bigs Aaron Gray (three fouls) and Amir Johnson (two) in quick foul trouble. Gray amassed two fouls on consecutive trips going for offensive boards, giving the Lakers four free throws to cut into the margin of 29-20 after one. Bryant started just 1 for 8, clanking a variety of jump shots, towards a 7 for 23 overall quarter.

SECOND QUARTER
3:00 With Bryant and Howard struggling to get on the same page, the Lakers slogged through much of the period despite cutting the lead to as few as six at one point, but stayed relatively close as World Peace hit a corner three to make it 48-39. The energy of Clark was one thing going well for L.A., as his eighth rebound was a put-back of MWP’s miss inside to give him nine boards. Five of those boards came on offense.

0:00 The Lakers could not have been much more upset at a call that got Howard ejected with his second technical foul. After a free throw, Howard and Alan Anderson briefly locked arms, both swinging their limbs but without malicious intent whatsoever, but a ref blew his whistle signaling a double tech. And so, Howard was gone with 1:18 to go, but in the meantime, the Lakers had trimmed Toronto’s lead to as few as two , with World Peace and Clark leading the way. Toronto did add a late bucket on yet another jump shot (Calderon) to take a 53-49 lead into the half.

THIRD QUARTER
5:30 With L.A. running the offense through Gasol on the low block, the Spaniard proved quite fruitful, reaching 17 points (10 in the first six minutes) on a variety of low post moves. The Raptors were scoring as well, however, taking a 70-63 lead on the seventh Calderon jump shot. Kobe, speaking of jumpers, was 0 for 11 from the perimeter.

0:00 Then the Raptors went through a layup line at L.A.’s rim, repeatedly scoring as the Lakers stood still, enough to build a 13-point lead heading into the final quarter. Landry Fields was doing a lot of damage with simple basket cuts, and had 16 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including five makes at the rim. Bryant continued to struggle, making only 5 of his 20 shots.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:11 L.A. looked to have something building as Gasol scored twice more to reach 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting … but the Raptors had a quick answer. Kyle Lowry pulled up for consecutive three-pointers, producing a 91-76 lead, and putting the Lakers in danger of falling back to six games under .500.

2:43 Having fallen behind by as many as 19, the Lakers tried to make a final push, cutting the lead down to seven when Clark hit a corner three and Gasol dunked an alley-oop from Nash. However, Gasol and Nash couldn’t get their next respective shots to fall, and Toronto got a clutch jumper from Calderon, who’d hit a ton of ‘em (9 of 15 field goals, all on jumpers) to push it back to nine.

0:00 Kobe hit one more three, and Nash a few free throws to reach 16 points with nine assists, but L.A.’s effort was too little, too late (and Howard’s late first half ejection didn’t help). Bryant added another three to reach 26 points, but needed 32 shots to get there (nine makes with three free throws); Gasol scored 25 points on an efficient 10 of 15 field goals, and Clark had a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double. Calderon’s 22 points led the Raptors, with Fields and Davis adding 18 apiece for Toronto.

It was the fifth consecutive road loss for the Lakers on the first game of back-to-back games, with the Chicago Bulls coming up tomorrow night. We’ll see you there.

Lakers Fans Around the World

There really are Lakers fans everywhere.

For some evidence on the claim, I took to Twitter on the plane flight from Los Angeles to Toronto yesterday, asking people to tell me from where and at what time they’d be watching the Lakers play the Raptors on Sunday at 10 a.m. Pacific.

Below is just a small sampling of the responses from Lakers fans across the globe, with some listing their specific city of residence and some the country in which they’ll be watching:

Mexico City: 12 p.m.
Maracaibo, Venezuela 1:30 p.m.
Asunción, Paraguay: 2 p.m.
Bogota, Columbia: 1 p.m.
St. Lucia: 2 p.m.
Barbados: 2 p.m.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 4 p.m.
Rejavik, Iceland: 6 p.m.
Dublin, Ireland: 6 p.m.
Morocco: 6 p.m.
England: 6 p.m.
Lagos, Nigeria: 6 p.m.
Denmark: 7 p.m.
Paris, France: 7 p.m.
Milan, Italy: 7 p.m.
Slovenia: 7 p.m.
Hungary: 7 p.m.
Belgrade, Serbia: 7 p.m.
Stockholm, Sweden: 7 p.m.
Israel: 8 p.m.
Cairo, Egypt: 8 p.m.
Kiev, Ukraine, 8 p.m.
Istanbul, Turkey: 8 p.m.
Beirut, Lebanon, 8 p.m.
Cape Town, South Africa: 8 p.m.
Ethiopia: 9 p.m.
Saudi Arabia: 9 p.m.
Yemen: 9 p.m.
Qatar: 9 p.m.
Kenya: 9 p.m.
Moscow, Russia: 10 p.m.
India: 12 a.m.
Karachi, Pakistan: 12 a.m.
Manilla, Philippines: 2 a.m.
Toyko, Japan: 3 a.m.
Sydney, Australia: 5 a.m.