Lakers flash some defense but Raptors rally in second half for the win

on Oct28

Defense has not been a hallmark of the Lakers for a very long time and for the last four seasons it has been virtually nonexistent from the home team at Staples Center.

But Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, the Lakers worked hard on their defense to make a game against a very talented opponent competitive.

The Lakers lost to the Raptors, 101-92, falling to 2-3 while Toronto improved to 3-2.

“I’m thrilled with the way we played tonight honestly,” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. “We competed our tails off. We had a 17-point lead. … The way that they competed and the way they fought on defense was really impressive. That’s another good game they put together on the defensive end, which has been our priority all through camp.”

Coming off the bench, Kyle Kuzma notched his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Lonzo Ball, who turned 20 years old on Friday, finished with five points, seven rebounds and six assists, making two of his seven shots and one of four three-point attempts. Julius Randle, also off the bench, led the Lakers with 18 points in 24 minutes on six-of-eight shooting.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points. Point guard Kyle Lowry notched a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The work the Lakers did to build chemistry began in the summer when many of their young players came in for informal workouts long before training camp. DeRozan, who is from Compton, joined them occasionally.

On Friday DeRozan showed his ability to close a game, a skill honed over his years of experience. He scored 17 points in the second half to help pull the Raptors out of what was once a deep hole.

On the strength of their defense, the Lakers looked dominant at times early in Friday night’s game. They built a lead of as many as 17 points in the second quarter, led by Brook Lopez who scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Lopez blocked three shots in the first half, emphatically, and Ball added two steals during that period.

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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