Raptors, Lakers battle in Toronto matinee
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers snapped a six-game losing streak last time out and they will try to gain some momentum Sunday afternoon when they visit Air Canada Centre to meet the Toronto Raptors.
The Lakers hadn't won since Jan. 3 until Friday's night victory in Boston over the Celtics. LA prevailed 107-104 despite a highly emotional night that saw Rajon Rondo return to the Celtics lineup after ACL surgery and get named captain of the team.
The Lakers were down eight with four minutes to go in Beantown, but held the Celtics to 1-for-9 shooting to end the game. LA made three consecutive 3- pointers to not only erase the deficit, but take the lead.
"Came down to getting stops. We hadn't had a problem scoring at all. Late in that fourth quarter we found a way to get stops, which was huge for us," Lakers guard Kendall Marshall said.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists while Marshall made 4-of-5 from beyond the arc en route to 19 points and 14 assists. Ryan Kelly scored 20 points, Jodie Meeks added 17 and Wesley Johnson totaled 11 points and 11 boards.
Kobe Bryant spoke to the media before Friday's game and updated his timetable for return following a broken bone in his knee. He said he will be re- evaluated in early February and won't sit out the season even if the Lakers are out of the playoff hunt.
"To think about sitting out and this, that and the other, your motivation is all wrong. I refuse to think that way," Bryant said.
The Raptors have been playing great basketball of late, winning four of their last five. They own a four-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic Division.
On Friday, Kyle Lowry had 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc with six assists and five rebounds to lead the Raptors to a 94-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Amir Johnson added 19 points, Terrence Ross had 16 and DeMar DeRozan chipped in with 15 points for the Raptors, who picked up their sixth consecutive win overall at Air Canada Centre.
"I thought Amir Johnson did a yeoman's job down low and our bigs did well," Toronto coach Dwane Casey admitted. "You have to command the paint against them and box out."
This is the first time the Raptors won six in a row at home since Jan. 17 - Feb. 10, 2010, when Toronto posted eight straight wins at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors beat the Lakers in Los Angeles on Dec. 8, but the Lakers have won 12 of the last 16 matchups. The teams split the last four meetings in the great north.
01/19 10:12:48 ET