Today’s game began with Ryan Kelly’s first start. The starting lineup included Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly, and Pau Gasol. The Raptors started Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson, and Jonas Valanciunas. It’s their usual healthy lineup. They have found success since the Rudy Gay trade, averaging 5 more assists, improving by 5 points defensively, and are now an above .500 team. Their bench improved and is now able to sustain a high level of energy.
Today, the key player was Patrick Patterson.
In the first quarter, there was a concerted effort to get Pau Gasol going. He received the ball in multiple positions on the floor, going from the low block, mid-block, and in face-up situations. Jonas Valanciunas struggled with the face up game and had 2 fouls early. The sequence for Gasol had him with a received dish for a dunk, a 7′ jumper over Valanciunas, and a drive for a layup. Ryan Kelly tried using the same shot fakes that he used in Boston, but they weren’t as effective. He managed to hit a spot up 3-pointer. Manny Harris provided an extra boost of energy with a tip-dunk and an 18′ jumpshot in transition. Marshall had 5 assists. It was a strong 10 minutes of play, with a 22-20 lead. The Raptors called a timeout, subbed in Patrick Patterson, and on came the onslaught. Patterson hit a couple of corner 3-pointers. Kyle Lowry added one more. Vasquez added one more on top of that. The Raptors had scored 14 field goals, 13 of them assisted, leading to a 16-7 run to end the first on 73.7% from the field.
Into the 2nd quarter, Patterson hit another top of the key jumpshot and carried the momentum. The Raptors started a 15-5 run on 7 consecutive made field goals. With 10:00 in the 2nd quarter, the score looked lopsided, with the Raptors leading 46-31. A minute later, the run was extended to a 24-5 run on 11 made field goals of 14 attempts. The Lakers were ice cold, shooting 22.2% from the field, while the Raptors were shooting a fire-red 70%. The Lakers called time out and spurred a run of their own. Meeks forced a couple of turnovers for a layup and a couple of made three throws. Kendall Marshall bombed a 3-pointer from a Meeks drive and dish. Gasol added a left hook. Wesley Johnson quietly bombed back to back 3-pointers. This cut the lead from a high of 19 points down to 6. Patrick Patterson scored 14 points in 15 minutes, but at the half, the Lakers were only down by 4 points, 58-54.
The Raptors began the 3rd quarter with a 10-0 run. The Lakers lacked the energy coming out of halftime and it was costly. Once again, they made concerted efforts to get Gasol involved. While he was getting touches around the paint, ball-movement stopped, and the shots weren’t falling for him. Ryan Kelly made an impact play to change the momentum. He cut into the passing lane on a return pass back to Amir Johnson, who was later whistled for a breakaway foul. Kelly made 2 free throws. On the ensuing possession, Nick Young for fouled behind the arc. He added another 3 points. Gasol dropped a layup and cut the lead back down to 67-75. Kelly later took his man in isolation from the 3pt. line, and did an up-and-under for an And-1 play as well. Kendall Marshall bombed another 3 pointer from Manny Harris. Nick Young added another 3-pointer in transition, and that capped off a huge run that cut the lead 79-76. The Raptors called a time out. Manny Harris tied the score at 79 with another 3-pointer. Kyle Lowry hit a 20′ 2-pointer in semi-transition, but late in the 3rd, Nick Young worked a screen off-the-ball, took a 3-pointer on Terrence Ross and got fouled. Ross argued that Young kicked out his leg, and he did a bit, but it’s arguable that the leg kick-out was to get his body more square with the hoop and center his balance. Nick Young hit 2 of 3 free throws, and officially took the lead at 82-81. That ended a 26-11 run, starting from a score of 73-56. The Raptors settled for jumpshots and finally iced down to 35% for the quarter.
The 4th quarter was a see-saw battle. The Raptors made a concerted effort with more paint play. Patterson hit a couple of FTs after being fouled in the paint. He hit a 17′ jumpshot after a dish situation. Hayes hit 2 free throws (!) after an offensive rebound. After that, the scoring ticker blew up. Nick Young hit a 3-pointer (87-86 LAL lead). Hill hit a jumphook. Vasquez made a layup. Hill hit a jumphook off of a spin move. Vasquez hit a floating layup. He forced a turnover, and hit another layup off of an offensive rebound. With 6:41 left to play, the score was 94-91. Ryan Kelly hit a falling floater off of a spin move to cut the lead down to 1. DeRozan hit a 17′ fadeaway. Meeks hit a 17′ jumpshot off of a screen. Gasol, in an isolation situation, got fouled on a baseline spin move. The Lakers kept their 1-point lead 97-96. The spurt continued. Nick Young hit a critical 3-pointer. Lowry came back with a driving layup. Kelly hit an 18′ 1-bounce pull up jumpshot. Lowry hit a 3-pointer. Kelly, attempted a 3-pointer, and got fouled. Lowry made a layup. The backbreaking shot was a Nick Young made 3-pointer in isolation. With a 108-103 lead with 1 minute left, the Raptors were deflated, frustrated from foul calls, and the game was settled.
The Raptors didn’t take advantage of their size in the paint. They relied on their streaky jumpshooting to carry them into the 2nd half and it didn’t happen. They made huge mistakes fouling 3-point shots, allowing breakaway fouls, and failing to call a time out on a critical possession on a loose ball situation. Those mistakes were costly.
The Lakers win 112 – 106. Ryan Kelly had a tremendous game taking advantage of mistakes commited by the Raptors. He hit critical 3-point shots, found gaps in the defense, forced a breakaway foul and kept the intensity.