Title: Raptors look dominant against Lakers despite incomplete performance
Date: November 4, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about the Raptors steamrolling the Lakers even without Kawhi Leonard or a strong bench performance.
LOS ANGELES – Kawhi Leonard sat out Sunday’s would-be marquee matchup due to a sore left foot and the Los Angeles Lakers made what was a blowout for most of the game competitive at the end. In between those unsultry end points, the Toronto Raptors were downright dominant. Primacy effect may preclude the takeaways from being glowingly positive, and there were real areas for continued concern, but the Raptors once again showed what their best —or rather, best down a star — selves looks like continues to entice.
Out of the gate, the game was downright laughable. On the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers looked entirely disinterested in defending, conceding easy switches, leaving shooters open, and offering nothing in the way of help in the paint. Magic Johnson’s reported issues with the Lakers’ top-10 offence are entirely misplaced; it’s the defensive end where this team shows it’s age, both in terms of being a little long in the tooth at some spots and inexperienced at others. The Raptors were ruthless in seeking out and attacking switches that were far too easy to come by, and they were downright ruthless in the speed with which they pushed in transition.
The result was a near-historic first quarter. The Raptors were ahead 42-17 after 12 minutes, threatening the franchise record for both points and point margin in a quarter. The record-holding game — a very weird looking affair from 1997, if the box score was any indication — was the only Damon Stoudamire record safe early on. Kyle Lowry tallied nine assists in the first quarter alone, ultimately finishing with 15 to break Stoudamire’s decades-old franchise record with his eighth consecutive double-digit assist game.