In the opening weeks of life after Kawhi, the defending champs are learning they might be deeper than even they recognized.
They definitely had enough to hold off Staples’ marquee tenants in a remarkable early-season victory.
Pascal Siakam had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Fred VanVleet ended with 23 points and 10 assists and the Raptors snapped the Los Angeles Lakers’ seven-game winning streak with a 113-104 win Sunday night.
Chris Boucher matched his career high with 15 points for the Raptors, who have won three straight and six of seven.
Two days after they lost starter Kyle Lowry to a broken left thumb and top reserve Serge Ibaka to a sprained right ankle, Toronto still made a decisive rally with four reserves on the floor early in the fourth quarter before hanging on late for its 10th consecutive victory over the Lakers.
”I think everybody that stepped out there didn’t only contribute, but they played awesome,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.
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Anthony Davis scored 27 points and LeBron James had 13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds in his 85th career triple-double, but the Lakers lost for the first time since opening night versus the Clippers.
The Raptors used a zone defense at times, and they also regularly employed what Davis described as ”a weird double-team” to force the Lakers out of their rhythm.
”They’ve still got championship players over there,” James said. ”Don’t matter if they were short-handed. … They were the better team tonight, for sure. We had good opportunities to win the game, but they turned up in that fourth quarter.”
Davis and James both had big games, but the Lakers’ supporting cast wasn’t helpful and their team defense didn’t look nearly as sharp as it had been in previous games. Kuzma scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.