After a rough night behind the three-point line, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a disappointing 107-92 loss to the defending NBA champions Toronto Raptors Saturday night, causing some to doubt whether the team has what it takes to win it all.
The Lakers struggled out of the gate, as Toronto started the game with a 10-0 run. Los Angeles did not score until midway through the first quarter. The Lakers eventually found their way back into the game, finishing the quarter trailing 21-23.
The game was a back-and-forth affair until the fourth quarter when the Raptors outscored the Lakers 35-22.
Los Angeles struggled in key stat categories, shooting a disappointing 35.4% from the field. The most glaring stat came from the 3-point line, where the Lakers shot a horrendous 25%. Toronto, on the other hand, shot over 41% from both the field and from the three-point line.
“I don’t think there is anything you can do better,” Lakers star LeBron James toldreporter Mike Trudell about his team’s performance at the 3-point line. “We went 10-40 from [three]. We have to step up and knock them down.”
Toronto out-rebounded Los Angeles 51-40 by the end of Saturday night’s affair. Free throws were also a problem for the Lakers, who hit only 72% of their free throws compared to Toronto’s 88%.
Los Angeles also committed more turnovers, as the Lakers finished with 17 turnovers on the night. Toronto ended with 14.
In terms of individual performances, James went on to have a decent night finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Dion Waiters also turned in solid performances, as Kuzma scored 16 and Waiters scored 12 from the bench.
Waiters was added to the roster before the restart and could potentially be an important addition. Los Angeles is hoping another guard can fill in for guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the season due to concerns of COVID-19. Bradley was an important contributor to the Laker offense before the season was postponed in March.
The biggest disappointment on the night from Los Angeles, however, comes from star big man Anthony Davis, who finished with a mediocre 14 points.
Saturday night’s performance was the opposite of Davis’ stellar 34-point performance against the Clippers the other night. Other disappointments come from Lakers guard and 3-point specialist Danny Green, who scored no points and shot 0-for-7 in 20 minutes.
“I’m just trying to find the open guy. We knew they were probably going to double, and I was just making the right reads,” Davis said speaking to Lakers Nation after the game. “Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot the ball well at all, from the field or three.”
Saturday’s loss put the Lakers record at 50-15, still holding a six-game lead at the top of the Western Conference.
Los Angeles has arguably one of the hardest schedules in the restart and will play its next game against the formidable Utah Jazz Monday at 6 p.m. PST.