The Toronto Raptors had one of their most balanced scoring efforts of the season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, who prevailed 118-116 in overtime.
Kobe provided another Herculean effort, dropping 41 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in 44 minutes. He did have nine turnovers, but his careless tendencies can be forgiven seeing as how he was on point when it mattered most. Kobe drilled a 3 with five seconds left to send the game into overtime, then gave L.A. the win after dunking the ball with 10 seconds left in OT. Bryant shot 11-of-22 on the night (including 5-of-10 from distance) and sank 14 of his 16 free throw attempts. Simply put, when Kobe plays like this, the Raptors have no chance of beating L.A.
In addition to Kobe’s efforts, the Lakers got big performances from Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. D12 went for 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks, while Nash added 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
The Raptors survived because of a total team effort, with six players scoring at least 11 points. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 28 (12-of-18 on FGs), and Alan Anderson and Rudy Gay both added 17. Unfortunately, Gay shot an atrocious 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from the floor, which crippled the Raptors offense.
The Raptors will look to rebound when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, while L.A. will try to extend their winning streak against the Chicago Bulls. Both games are on Sunday.
Austin Green is the editor of Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.