After a stunning second quarter comeback vaulted the Raptors into the lead by halftime, they would trade leads with the Lakers in the third and then remain behind them for most of the fourth.
But as they did for most of the game, the Raptors hung around and battled, pulling to within 104-11 on an Andrea Bargnani free throw with 30 seconds to play. But Kobe Bryant was fouled and hit two free throws the other way before swatting a drive by Linas Kleiza away to preserve the Lakers win.
On a night where the Lakers' defence may not have been in top form, forward Pau Gasol more than did his part on offence for his club on Friday.
In a game-high 43:45 of work, Gasol displayed just as much ease scoring from the elbow as in the post, with 30 points (12-22 FGM-A) to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Eight of those points came in the fourth quarter, including a pair of free throws in the game's final seconds to maintain a two-possession lead.
Several statistical categories favoured the Raptors in the loss, but perhaps the most glaring was their reserves outscoring their Lakers' counterparts 52-30. Three major keys in that boost from the bench came from Leandro Barbosa (team-high 17 points), Jose Calderon (14 points, eight rebounds) and Amir Johnson (12 points, 15 rebounds).
Despite some turnovers from the guards down the stretch, each of them had their best games of the season five games in. Hopefully, Friday's narrow loss can serve as a turning point for all three.
"We didn’t get a couple shots. We got caught, they showed hard and we couldn’t move the ball. We became a little stagnant. It was a bad luck thing. There was a four point difference with 7:40 to go [in the game] and the ball is sitting on the rim and we touch it two or three times and it doesn’t go and then we foul a three point shooter, so it goes from a two point difference to a seven point difference. That was a big swing for us right there."
- Jay Triano, on the fourth-quarter turning point.
Sati., Nov. 6 vs. Blazers
10 PM ET, Sportsnet One, FAN590
Saturday's back end of a back-to-back in Portland ends the Raptors' four-game Western Conference road trip. The Raps seek their first road win of the season against the Blazers, who have dropped two of three heading into Saturday night's game. The Raptors have dropped four straight to the Blazers overall and three straight on the road, with their last win in Portland coming on Dec. 22, 2006.
|+18||Rebounding differential favouring the Raptors|
|21||Raptors turnovers, versus just 12 for the Lakers|
|58-44||Points in the paint favouring the Raptors|
|19||Free throw attempts for Toronto (32 for LA)|
|24-13||Fast break points favouring the Raptors|
|"I had fun tonight and it’s always fun playing against Kobe and the Lakers. But I wish we could have pulled the win out.”|
- DeMar DeRozan, on mstching up with Kobe Bryant
|"I kind of valued the fact that they gave us a game and came out competitive in that second period and took the lead. I thought it was good for our team to have to face a little adversity."|
- Lakers head coach Phil Jackson on the challenge presented by the Raptors .
|"They played hard and I thought we did as well. We fought tooth and nail with them down the stretch, but in the end they just made more plays than we did."|
- Jarrett Jack, on the offensive effort