The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in a game they trailed for 47 1/2 of the 48 minutes.
Kobe Bryant was abysmal, Dwight Howard was ejected on some questionable officiating, and Pau Gasol proved he can still anchor an offense. Ultimately, the Lakers were unable to contain the Raptors’ guards, namely Jose Calderon, and Toronto scored far too often and too easily en route to securing the 108-103 win.
Calderon finished with 22 points on 9-15 shooting and nine assists. The scouting report warned the Lakers of four dangerous guards that would threaten to score and pass the Lakers to death: Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Alan Anderson and Kyle Lowry.
The Lakers allowed the foursome of guards to combine for 52 points on 50 percent shooting and 22 assists.
Nearly seven minutes into the game, the Lakers trailed by 15 points after constantly settling for three-pointers and missing. The Lakers wound up shooting 1-6 from behind the arc in the first quarter, but they continued to shoot from distance and eventually launched 27 shots from downtown—only making 9 of them.
The Lakers’ players were not the ones who decided to stay home and mail it in on Sunday morning.
The referees were poor. In their handling of Howard, the referees designated two unnecessary technical fouls on the Lakers’ big man before halftime, ending his involvement in the contest.
Howard’s dismissal resulted in Gasol playing at the center position and close to the basket for the entire second half. The Spaniard scored 18 of his 25 points following the intermission on 8-11 shooting and no turnovers. All-in-all, Gasol proved he can still anchor an offense.
Along with Gasol, Earl Clark’s energy on the court gave the Lake Show a fighting chance late in the game. Clark continued to make his case for starting duties with 14 points and 14 rebounds off the bench in the loss.
Clark helped energize the team back from a 16-point deficit in the first quarter to only four points at the half. Clark’s presence on the offensive glass, defensive energy and shooting range exemplified why the former Louisville Cardinal may be a key asset on the court or in a possible trade.
Still, the Lakers lost on Sunday. Their Swiss-cheese defense allowed 55 second-half points on 56 percent shooting.
In addition, Bryant's rough 10-32 shooting effort only yielded 26 points and ultimately doomed the Lakers’ chances on winning their only game north of the border this season.
With Bryant 2-10 from the field for four points at halftime and Howard out of the game, the Lakers were incredibly fortunate to be only down by four points at the break. After shooting 8-22 in the second half, the Mamba may be better off believing his game-high six turnovers and 31 percent shooting never occurred.
In any case, the Lakers wake up in Chicago on Monday morning and play the Bulls that night. At 17-23 on the season, the Lakers are nose-diving their way out of the playoffs in a hurry, so a win against the Bulls would go a long way.