Jan 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) carries the ball past Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks (20) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers 112 - Toronto Raptors 106: Defense takes a holiday

The Toronto Raptors, despite some frustrating shooting lulls, were able to pile up the points against the Los Angeles Lakers. What they couldn’t do was stop the Lakers, who shrugged off two big Raptor leads to poach a victory from under the home team’s nose. For this day at least, the 7-seconds-or-less offense of Mike D’Antoni trumped Toronto’s defense.

Jan 19, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Lakers center-forward Pau Gasol (right) congratulates forward-guard Nick Young (0) looks on at the Air Canada Centre. Los Angeles defeated Toronto 112-106. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Raps must have felt like the Lakers had 3 extra players on occasion. The refereeing was dismal, even bizarre, and the Raps got no calls. Perhaps the strangest play was seeing Kyle Lowry dribbling the ball on the perimeter, then getting run over – and having a foul called on him! Both Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan were T-ed up after protesting imaginary fouls. The Raps were whistled for 21 fouls, the Lakers 13. Los Angeles took 28 free throws to Toronto’s 11. I’m thinking Mark Cuban’s showing up of NBA refs isn’t such a bad idea after all. The Raptors scored 44 fields goals to LA’s 37, but couldn’t overcome the foul problem, or LA’s shooting fewer, but making more, 3-balls.

Veteran swingman Nick Young led all scorers with 29 points, which included a ridiculous 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, and 10 of 11 from the charity stripe. Pau Gasol gave no evidence of his foot injury, and was able to back down Jonas Valanciunas at will, scoring 22. JV was mentally elsewhere. He made a dreadful pass which was intercepted and led to a clear-path foul, and earlier pushed in a ball that had not cleared the cylinder, resulting in no basket for him or Amir Johnson, whose shot it was (that was the right call, BTW). He played only 14+ minutes, in his worst outing in weeks.

Some Raps were just fine, thanks, including Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Both had to work like Trojans on the perimeter, as coach D’Antoni had clearly decided that he wasn’t going to let our top guys beat him, so the Laker guards were all over them. The interior was relatively free, so Patrick Patterson was able to score 17, and Amir 13. Had JV contributed anything, we would have hit 120, but it wasn’t to be. Nor did TRoss find his stroke when needed. Greivis Vasquez’s 11 points were overdue, but he’s still struggling from distance.

This was a bitter defeat, one which should teach our guys not to stop playing when you’ve built a big lead. Hopefully they can regain their edge in Charlotte on Monday afternoon.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for 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.

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