Defence wins championships…and maybe defends them to
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Toronto Raptors 107 - 92 L.A. Lakers
Orlando, FL - Both the Lakers and Raptors players and staff kneeled for the American and Canadian National Anthems to protest against racial injustice.
Former Raptor, Danny Green, would have received his NBA championship ring, but opted to wait until he can get it in front of the Toronto crowd. The man will get a standing ovation during the ceremony, so I don't blame him for waiting.
The name of the game was defence. Toronto held L.A. to an abysmal 35% shooting from the field including an even worse 25% from three. Kyle Lowry led the game in both points with 33 and rebounds with a career high 14. Whenever the Raptors needed him, he was there to make a bucket, force a tough shot or clean up after his teammates.
Pascal Siakam struggled from the field to the tune of 5 of 17 for 15 points but more than made up for it with his defence on fellow all star Anthony Davis. Davis finished with just 14 and was forced to pass out of shots on several occasions because of Siakams hounding defence.
OG Anunoby was excellent from the floor, second in the entire game in scoring behind Lowry with 23. His defence on LeBron James was fantastic, forcing kickouts and tough shots by LeBron who finished with 20 points, but just five assists for the league's leading passer.
The game started all Raps to the tune of a 13-0 run. Lowry hit a classic pull-up three. The defence was tough and the ball was humming, but then it turned.
A 10-2 Lakers run.
Siakam ended the scoring drought with a nice iso drive and fade for two points.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a scare near the end of the first. Going up for an offensive rebound he landed on Markieff Morris's foot. He ended up waving off getting subbed out before being pulled and sitting the second quarter. Luckily he was ok and did return in the second half.
The first quarter ended 23-21 Raptors.
Gasol tried to take a charge on LeBron but didn't get the call. So next play, who else but Lowry took a charge on Dion Waiters. His league leading 31st of the season.
It took until a technical foul free throw for Anthony Davis to score his first points with 2:31 until halftime. He was 0-3 up to that point and the Raptors were doing a great job denying him the ball.
Halftime ended 44-41 in favour of the Lakers. Both squads really struggled from deep shooting a combined 9 of 37 from three point range.
What we saw in the Raptors final scrimmage carried over into tonight. Nine turnovers to just ten assists in the opening 24 minutes.
The Raptors had another big run in the third quarter. This time 10-0 led by Lowry with six of the ten. He also grabbed all six of Toronto's defensive rebounds during the run. That gave Toronto a 51-47 lead.
It was back and forth from there and the quarter ended with a narrow Raptors lead, 72-70.
The fourth started all Raptors. OG Anunoby came to life with 12 of his 23 points in the fourth. After the game was tied at 83, the Raptors closed on a 24-9 run.
The game ended 107-92 Raptors.
Next up, Game two of the final eight against the Miami Heat on Monday, Aug 3rd.