Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Raptors lack bench support in loss to equally-desperate Lakers

Raptors lack bench support in loss to equally-desperate Lakers

LOS ANGELES — It was a battle of two ninth-place teams, each with designs on bigger things this year, each determined to use the final month of the season to prove to themselves and everyone else that they were right all along, that they are a good team, capable of big things.

If it means clawing their way out of the play-in tournament to do it? So be it.

Unfortunately, after a long road trip that featured a lot of good basketball, some excellent individual performances and some controversy, the hole the Toronto Raptors are in keeps getting deeper. Toronto fell 122-112 to the Los Angeles Lakers, who are proving that even with LeBron James injured they should be a team to be reckoned with. The Lakers weathered an impressive start from the Raptors and a superb third quarter as well as brilliant individual performances from O.G. Anunoby and Scottie Barnes and won going away regardless.

Toronto led five to start the fourth quarter and by as much as nine midway through the third, but the Lakers’ (mostly) bench unit went on a 15-6 run in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to move in front and then extended that lead once the starters hit the floor.

It wasn’t the Lakers stars who were the problem. James (foot) remains out for another couple of weeks and Toronto held Davis — who came into the game averaging 34 points over his last four starts — to just eight points, with Anunoby doing the heavy lifting in an impressive showing. Instead, it was Dennis Schröder, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura with 23, 18 and 16 points off the bench, respectively, that Toronto couldn’t match as their bench unit scored 12 points in total, not enough to support big nights from Anunoby (31 points on 12-of-14 shooting) and Barnes (32 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists).

The Lakers shot 56.3 per cent form the floor and are just one game out of sixth place in the tightly packed west at 33-34, while the Raptors fell to 1-4 on their road trip and head home at 32-36 and 2.5 games behind seventh-place Atlanta after shooting 50 per cent from the floor against the Lakers.

For the third straight game going back to their losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, the Raptors were the better team in the first quarter. The urgency has been there.

“I just think that we understand the importance of every game,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “We gotta win just to get in. We want to get in, we want to have a chance. Even though we’re down the standings a little bit, we don’t feel like there’s a huge gap between us and a lot of teams in this league. I don’t think we’re afraid of too many teams. The main thing for us is to continue to focus on getting better, playing better, getting some wins and get in the tournament and then we’ll see what happens.”

The Lakers are reading from the same playbook. They came into Friday’s game 7-3 in their past 10 games and second in the NBA in defensive rating since the all-star break.

“We have to come out every day and be the best version of ourselves. There’s not a lot of games left, but enough for us to make up ground,” said Lakers head coach Darvin Ham.

And the defence? “It’s all of those guys just buying in. And the foundation we’ve preached since Day 1 is to stay competitive and that’s where it starts. Our system is detailed, but it’s simple in nature,” he said. “They don’t have to stand there and think about 13 different coverages for 13 different offensive scenarios to try guard. It allows them to be competitive and use their instincts.”

It took a minute to wake up, however, and the Raptors— ready to go from the jump — took full advantage. Toronto went up 25-10 midway through the first quarter after Anunoby hit the second of a pair of consecutive threes to give him 10 points before the game was six minutes old.

Three early Lakers turnovers helped the Raptors cause as well and Jakob Poeltl kept finding seams in the L.A. defence on his way to eight first-quarter points. But the Lakers’ trade deadline moves — in addition to bringing D’Angelo Russell to play point guard in place of the departed Russell Westbrook — were also about adding quality depth. It showed when Los Angeles went to their newly outfitted bench and went on a 21-10 run bolstered by Schröder — now coming off the bench behind Russell — and four Raptors turnovers.

Things only got worse in the second quarter, or at least the second half of the second quarter. After Pascal Siakam’s second three of the half put the Raptors up by six with 5:55 to play, the Lakers started to roll and the Raptors to wobble. Toronto gave up a 23-9 run with Russell taking over the game for a few crucial minutes, finding his way to the rim for a pair of lay-ups, hitting a step-back three over Fred VanVleet and assisting on three more scores. The Raptors’ paint was suddenly wide open with Toronto’s starters unable to handle a mixed compilation of Lakers starters and bench pieces. The flurry gave the Lakers a 70-62 lead on the strength of a 39-point second quarter in which they shot 67 per cent from the floor.

But the Raptors came back after the half with the same urgency they started the game with and again it was Anunoby doing a lot of the damage. In addition to more than holding his own on Davis, Anunoby was locked in offensively. He scored 14 points in the first half of the quarter as Toronto came out of the gate with a 22-5 run in which Anunoby’s contributions were the following: a three, a pair of free throws, a steal and an assist on a fastbreak, a steal and a fastbreak layup, another lay-up, a dunk on an alley-oop and a three-point play off a turnaround jumper. In all: 14 points, two steals and an assist in the first six minutes of the quarter, all before Davis had cracked double figures in points or rebounds.

At that point Anunoby was 11-of-12 from the floor for 29 points. Unfortunately, no one else was ready pick up where he left off. VanVleet’s three was the only Raptors field goal for the rest of the period as the Lakers were able to trim Toronto’s lead to five, 90-85, to start the fourth.

The Raptors now head home for some time after playing seven of their past eight games on the road, a stretch in which they went 3-4. They’ll need to put some wins together sooner than later, but that’s not a new story.


By: Michael Grange
Title: Raptors lack bench support in loss to equally-desperate Lakers
Sourced From:
Published Date: 03-12-2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Was Vancouver home to an NBA team?

No, Vancouver does not have an NBA team. The Vancouver Grizzlies were the city's basketball team from 1995 to 2001. In 2001, they moved to Memphis Tennessee. Now, basketball enthusiasts in Vancouver support the Toronto Raptors as they are the closest NBA team to the area. Other professional basketball teams also play in the Greater Vancouver Area such as the BC Tigers, Canadian Elite Basketball League, and Vancouver Volcanoes, International Basketball League. A number of amateur and semiprofessional teams participate in various local leagues.

Vancouver is home to many other sports fans. Vancouver Grizzlies Alumni Association aims for former players to get together and promote basketball in British Columbia. The association hosts clinics and viewing parties for Raptors matches.

The city's love of basketball has not decreased since the departures of the Grizzlies. And it continues to be a supportive community in numerous ways. Vancouverites still love basketball, and they continue to support former players and other organizations who work to promote the sport within the city.

What is the name of the Toronto Raptors' mascot?

The Toronto Raptors is an NBA franchise that was founded in 1995. They play at Scotiabank Arena.

Raptor, the giant red dinosaur that is the Raptors' symbol of loyalty, is Raptor. Raptor has been entertaining fans since 1995 when he was introduced. He also makes appearances throughout Toronto, participating in charity events and community initiatives. He was awarded the NBA Mascot of the year award in 2019 for his many years of dedication to the Raptors. Raptor is a well-known figure in Toronto, as well as around the NBA. This makes him one of professional sports' most popular mascots. He is also an internationally recognized symbol of Canada’s basketball fandom.

Many in the country and throughout the city share Raptor’s enthusiasm for his team as well as its fans. With Raptor leading the way, the Raptors have become one of the most successful teams in the NBA, winning their first championship in 2019. This win was a significant milestone for basketball fans across Canada and Toronto. Raptor remains a major source for pride for those who are Raptors fans. Raptors pride will never end. Long live the Raptor. Go, Toronto Raptors!

How many Toronto Raptors have had all-stars?

Vince Carter and Antonio Davis are the Raptors' eight All-Stars. Apart from Davis and VanVleet they all have made it to other NBA teams like Leonard.

How many years has the Raptors been around?

Toronto Raptors are an NBA NBA franchise. In 1995, the NBA added the Raptors to its expansion roster along with the Vancouver Grizzlies. In 2001-02 the Raptors became Canada's only NBA-based team, after the Grizzlies moved to Memphis.

Toronto Raptors players Scotiabank Arena for their home games. The arena is also used by the Maple Leafs, the city's NHL team. Since their foundation, the Raptors were in the NBA playoffs 13 more times. The most recent was in 2021 where they lost 6 to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Raptors were eligible for their first playoff appearance in 1999/2000. In the first round, the Raptors were swept by New York Knicks division rivals.

The team was boring and there were very few fans. There was not much to be excited about and nothing to cheer for. The team finally decided to change their image after years of mediocrity and made every effort to appeal to the public.

The team hired an advertising agency to help them create a national marketing strategy in 2001. Using creative thinking, they devised a slogan, "Hear us roar."

They used the slogan because the team was in financial trouble at the time and wanted to make sure that everyone knew that they were selling out. They needed a catchy slogan and a great logo. This is where the agency's creative genius shines. They combined the expression "hear us roar" and another popular saying, "never die." This became Toronto Raptors' official motto.


  • In November of the 1996–97 season, Bitove sold his ownership interest in the team to Slaight for $65 million after Slaight had activated a shotgun clause in their partnership agreement,[32][33] giving Slaight 79 percent control of the team, [34] (
  • Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (
  • As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a berth in the 2001 NBA playoffs with a franchise-high 47 wins. (
  • This improved during the 2006–07 regular season to an average of 18,258 fans (13th in the league), 92.2 percent capacity at the Air Canada Centre. (
  • This improved during the 2006–07 regular season to an average of 18,258 fans (13th in the league), 92.2 percent capacity at the Air Canada Centre. (

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How To

How to get to a Toronto Raptors game from your location

Toronto Raptors games occur at Air Canada Centre (ACC) in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. TTC Metro system takes you to ACC. Union Station is approximately 30 minutes away from ACC. Bay Street station, which is about 30 minutes away from ACC, is the closest station.

Bay street station is recommended if you want to reach ACC directly from Union Station. Follow the signs for ACC from Bay Street Station. If you arrive at ACC via another direction, please take the signs to Bay Street station.

Follow the signs to the ACC from Bay Street Station.

The venue is accessible for people with disabilities. Accessible seating is available for wheelchair users. Sign language interpretation services are also offered by the ACC.

There is no parking fee at ACC. However, there is limited street parking available nearby.