Lakers 115, Raps 107
Another L, but damn was that entertaining.
For the Raptors, Jose Calderon was a no go for this game. Meaning another starting lineup change for the Raps. The Big Three of Bargs/Bosh/J.O. got the start again with Anthony Parker at the point and finally, Joey Graham at the shooting guard.
The Raps came out swinging. After letting almost 40 points in the first quarter to the Cavs in the Raps' last game, the Raptors actually corrected some of their mistakes. The Raps came out with intensity and Joey Graham got the crowd ignited with the slam to get a lead on the Lakers 15-7. And then, Anthony Parker got it going with a four point play. Yep, AP got off his three from the corner and got the foul for the four points. Here's my favorite four point play
. Even though the Raptors got a quick jump on the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher hit back to back threes. And then Kobe nailed a couple more shots, to get it to a two point game as the Lakers went on a 12-2 run including a nice Kobe reverse layup
. Even though the Lakers made a run, the Raps looked a lot better in this first quarter, outscoring the Lakers 14-8 in the paint and up 31-26 after one. Kobe had 14 points in the first.
The second quarter had the Lakers tie the game up with a Lamar Odom layup. With Calderon on the shelf, Roko Ukic got some run today at backup PG slot. Joey Graham came out strong in this game, with tight defense, rebounding and nailing shots, he was getting it done. He had a tough defensive assignment in a player names Kobe Bryant butrose to the occasion.With the recent injury to Andrew Bynum, the Lakers were thin up front and the Raptors bigs were able to take advanage. Bosh/Bargnani/J.O. were getting shots down low, and when J.O. had the chance, he was nailing passes to the open man. Derek Fisher hit a buzzer beater at the half to get he Lakers within five. Raptors shot 51%, Joey Graham had 13, Bosh/Bargs/J.O. combined for 40pts atthe half.
I don't know, when you put AP at the point, he gets it rolling. In the third quarter,he wasspinning and nailing shots but then he would also drove it and kicking itto Joey Graham for the slam. Parker nailed his patented corner three to get the Raptors up 83-77. The Lakers made it a two point game when Jordan Farmar got the steal, passed the rock to Kobe who dished it to Lamar Odom for the slam. Joey Graham played confident tonight, hitting the jumper over Kobe. The Lakers outscored the Raptors in the third 27-24.
Andrea Bargnani started of the fourth quarter with a three to get up three. Roko got some run at the start of the fourth, and just blew by the Lakers for the easy layup.
The best sequence of the game? J.O.'s block on Josh Powell, for his 7th block of the game and the second time back down the floor, J.O. blocked Powell again.
Then the Lakers turned it up.
Sasha Vujacic got the Lakers' biggest lead of the game when he hit a three to get up 98-94. Matt Devlin had announced that Chris Bosh wouldn't return as he had a sprained right knee from a play in the second quarter. Kobe did his thing nailing a long jumper to get up four and then a long two to get up six. Raps couldn't get it done down low as Gasol played tight D on Jermaine. Anthony Parker hit a three to make it 107-103 and then Graham went one on one against Sasha Vujacic, got the layup and the And 1. Graham missed his free throw and Kobe hit the jumper on the next possession. Lakers closed it out in the final minutes beating the Raptors 115-107.
Kobe Bryant got it done: 36 pts, 9 rebounds, 5 assists
Pau Gasol had 31 points, 15 boards
Lakers bench outscored the Raps bench, 21-10
Lakers shot 50%, Raptors shot 46%
Jermaine O'Neal flirted with a triple dub: 22 pts, 9 rebounds, 9 blocks!
The Raptors starters combined for 97 of the team 107 points
Probably his best game to date: Joey Graham, a career-high 24 pts
Raptors face the New Orleans Hornetson Friday.
Photo credit: (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)