The Roundup-Jazz defense falters in loss to Raptors

During the first quarter, the Raptors turned the ball over seven times, leading to several easy baskets for the Jazz.

Toronto wasn't necessarily expected to dominate in the second game of a back-to-back, but performances from Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam once again lifted a squad missing Kawhi Leonard. One of the teams playing in Staples Center Sunday night was complete and ready to compete for a ring now. "We got to get better".

James said his Lakers could've played better in certain areas against the Raptors, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

The Raptors raced out to that big first quarter exploiting two things: Brandon Ingram could not keep up with Danny Green as he came off multiple picks, and the Raptors would run a pick-and-pop with JaVale McGee's man setting the pick because he could/would not come out and contest.

Though the final scoreline saw the Raptors win by just 14 points, the Lakers never really threatened to win the game.

James added: "Second, third and fourth [quarter] we played Lakers basketball".

Leonard could decline his 2019-20 player option and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019.

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Los Angeles' wins this season have come in shootouts, and while their point differential is better than their record early (the Lakers should be a.500 team by that metric), Los Angeles has a long way to go to reach the NBA's elite.

Antetokounmpo was nearly apologetic afterward.

Leonard left the game with 2:42 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Mitchell missed time earlier with a hamstring pull and then suffered an ankle injury Saturday in Denver.

After Sunday's outburst, Ibaka is averaging a career-high 18.1 points per game, while his 56.8 percent shooting percentage and 7.6 rebounds per game are the highest totals he has posted in years.

"It was very, very hard to make a game of it when you are trying to expend so much energy trying to get back into it", said James.

  • Lawrence Cooper