Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Raptors continue to dominate Lakers in L.A., win fourth straight road game

LeBron James is simply paying for his past crimes against the Raptors.

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LeBron James is simply paying for his past crimes against the Raptors.

James is still winless against Toronto since taking his talents to La la land and the Raps have now beaten the Lakers in Los Angeles seven straight times. Toronto improves to 4-1 on this wildly successful road trip, especially considering how low morale was amongst the fanbase after home losses to Detroit and Orlando. Cleveland won against the Clippers so the Raptors remain one game back for the sixth seed.

This was never truly a contest, as the Raptors led wire to wire and were up by as many as 28 points. Some coles notes below.

Hollywood Scottie

At the beginning of the season, the challenge for Scottie Barnes offensively was to be a more willing three point shooter which he has succeeded at. Since then, Barnes has worked on using his skillset and physicality to create offence in the paint. Scottie displayed the latter early and often to make this game lopsided before it even started.

NBA twitter was already cackling just five minutes into the game when the Raptors led 19-2. What was embarrassing from a Lakers standpoint was how quickly the Raptors were finding offence, with numerous buckets coming in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock.

Barnes went at Kevin Durant with regularity earlier this season in Brooklyn. So why would LeBron be any different?

26-4 man?

In the first 10 minutes, LeBron (2 points) was the only Laker starter to score. Scottie outscored L.A. by himself 15-12 in the opening quarter. It looked like the rook might top that career-high of 28 points, but his last field goal came with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. It would have been nice to see the offence not move away from him on a night where Fred VanVleet shot 3-14 but credit to Barnes for not trying to force the issue. He also had nine rebounds and five assists.

“He’s been playing through the hits and playing more physical. Especially for his age, he’s playing more physical as anybody for us. That to me is what I really like to see,” said Nick Nurse after the game.

Also shoutout to Chris Walder, who has been tracking Scottie’s climb up the scoring ranks all season. Vince’s rookie campaign was in the lockout shortened 1998-99 season (50 games).

Momentum Killers

The Lakers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the first half, shooting 26.7 percent from the field and missing their first 16 three point attempts. They had a couple of chances to get back into the game, starting late in the second quarter. As mentioned, this was an off night for Fred but his three following Carmelo Anthony’s miss changed what could have been an 11 point game to 17.

A LeBron turnover led to Thaddeus Young finding Precious Achiuwa upstairs and all of a sudden the Raptors were back up 20.

Lake Show also attempted one of those late game runs in the fourth quarter that Raptors twitter jokingly labels fake comebacks. LeBron had 30 points and cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the beginning of the game. However Scottie breaking the trap for another Precious lob helped stall things until more key Lakers misses sealed this one for good.

Angry LeBron

I touched on James being demoralized in my preview, which showed a few clips of LeBron walking back on defence and displaying clear frustration 24 hours prior in Phoenix. We haven’t seen The King in that state on a regular basis since his first season as a Laker when he wanted to trade half the roster for Anthony Davis. With AD missing 31 games this season the rage is back, maybe on unprecedented levels.

LeBron exploded after losing a battle to Achiuwa and Chris Boucher on the boards in the second quarter.

James whipping the ball at Barnes in the third quarter also went viral. You’re taught to throw the ball off a player hard to save the possession when going out of bounds so I don’t share the same rage some do. It’s just unfortunate that poor Scottie was in a defenseless position at the time. He took it like a champ though.

Some were hoping for LeBron to share his thoughts on going against Barnes in the midst of an extremely tight Rookie of the Year race. That wasn’t happening with the mood he was in.

Sidenotes: Pascal Siakam

Let’s give Pascal some flowers before closing this out It’s the first time in Siakam’s career that he’s scored 20 or more in seven straight games. Pascal told Amy Audibert on Sportsnet’s broadcast that he was feeling under the weather after the all-star break, which explains why he had 30 points in 3 combined games after. Spicy was a steady force the entire game in all facets, including hustling for deflections which led to extra possessions and also showing off the more noticeable type of defence.

Siakam recorded his 22nd double double of the season with 27 points, 11 rebounds and added five assists. His previous best was 18 in 2018-19. Like Scottie’s ROY candidacy, the All-NBA conversation regarding Pascal will be very intriguing over the next month.

What’s Next?

A well coached Clippers team in the same building to wrap up the six game roady.