Kawhi Leonard once again led the Raptors to victory, scoring 25 points against the Los Angeles Lakers at Scotiabank Area on Thursday night. Norman Powell contributed with 20 points, Pascal Siakam had 16, and Marc Gasol 15, while Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka missed their teams’ 49th win of the season.
On the other side, LeBron James’ 29 points couldn’t prevent the Lakers from suffering their 37th defeat this season.
The Raptors needed a win to bounce back from the 126-101 defeat against James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, earlier this week. Ibaka was suspended after a fight with Chriss in Cleveland, and he’ll miss the next two games as well.
Coach Nick Nure had to make the most out of those players who were fit for the match, and it looks like shuffled his cards right. Spectators at Scotiabank saw a new starting five, with Jeremy Lin starting his first game after joining the team in February.
Another Game, Another Starting Five for the Raptors
But the new line-up looked good, and by the third quarter, the Raptors were up by 13 points, although the Lakers managed to cut that lead to 6 by the beginning of the fourth quarter. But it soon was clear the Raptors were not going to let the Lakers repeat their game against Chicago, where they overcame a deficit of 20 points to return home victorious. They did manage to come to within 9 points, but it was all the team from Los Angeles could do before the buzzer.
This was a ninth win a row over the Lakers for the Raptors, which is a new record for the franchise. The impressive run has started back in November 2014, and will not end soon, as the two teams won’t face each other anymore this season.
Power scored 12 points in the first quarter, ending the quarter with a three-pointer that extended Toronto’s lead to 33-25. Caruso scored 12 in the second quarter, helping the Lakers move closer, but Leonard’s three-pointer with 2 seconds left on the clock, ended the first half with the Raptors leading 65-54.
The Raptors will have a couple of days to rest, before travelling to Detroit, where they’ll face the Pistons and their former coach Dwane Casey on Sunday. It’s back to Scotiabank Arena on Monday, when they take on the New York Knicks, who are on a seven-game losing streak. As we’ve already mentioned, Ibaka won’t be able to help his teammates due to his suspension.