Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors: Postgame Grades and Analysis for LA

Matthew SchmidtFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2014

Nick Young scored 29 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors, 112-106, at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The Lakers shot 12-of-22 from three-point range in the win and also went 26-of-28 from the free-throw line, the latter of which was the biggest difference in this game.

In contrast, the Raptors only shot 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. Toronto shot better than Los Angeles from the floor (48.9 percent to 46.3 percent), but the free-throw discrepancy was just too much for Dwane Casey's group to overcome.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors, who also had a 19-point edge in the second period, with 24.

The loss ends a six-game home winning streak for Toronto, and it continues its stretch of futility against LA.

Since entering the league in the 1995-96 season, the Raptors have never beaten the Lakers at home.


Key Player Grades

Pau Gasol, Center

Pau Gasol got off to a tremendous start in this one, scoring 10 points off 4-of-6 shooting in the opening quarter. Jonas Valanciunas had a very rough time defending him, as Gasol used his veteran savvy to take advantage of the young Lithuanian in the post.

Gasol would cool off as the game progressed, though, as he went only 4-for-14 the rest of the way. Also, he didn't record a single assist, which is very odd for a deft-passing big man like Pau.

Still, Gasol's numbers were solid.

The Spaniard posted 22 points and nine boards, not to mention a plus-26. He also made all six of his free-throw tries.

Grade: B+


Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard

While Jodie Meeks went only 4-for-10 and missed some makeable shots, I liked the effort the 2-guard put forth on Sunday afternoon.

Meeks was very pesky defensively, stripping Raptors players and playing the passing lanes to accumulate four steals. Each time Meeks came up with a theft, he was off to the races.

The Kentucky product added 11 points and three assists.

The fairly poor shooting clip (particularly from downtown, where he went 1-of-5), costs him, though.

Grade: C


Wesley Johnson, Small Forward

Wesley Johnson had a big second period, scoring all eight of his points and knocking down a couple of triples, but that was really it.

He ran into some foul trouble early and ended up picking up four personals in just 24 minutes, and he wasn't on the floor in crunch time.

The usually versatile Johnson didn't really impact the game in any way other than scoring the rock, managing only three boards and one dime.

Grade: C


Kendall Marshall, Point Guard

How about Kendall Marshall?

The floor general put together yet another double-double on Sunday, tallying 10 points and 11 assists.

It's clear that Marshall has a very solid idea of how to run an offense, and while he may not be the quickest afoot, he is crafty enough to occasionally fool the defense.

Marshall also logged four rebounds, posted a plus-21 and only committed two turnovers on the afternoon.

He shot 4-for-10.

Grade: B


Ryan Kelly, Power Forward

For the second consecutive contest, Ryan Kelly impressed.

The rookie scored 17 points off 5-of-7 shooting and displayed the type of basketball IQ that Coach K loves to teach.

Kelly has an excellent shot fake, and he used it to draw a big foul from behind the three-point line late in the fourth quarter (he hit all three free throws).

Kelly also contributed five rebounds and two steals in 36 minutes. He went 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

Grade: A-


Nick Young, Sixth Man

Nick Young was the best player on the floor in this one.

Young, who was coming off a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Goran Dragic several nights ago, recorded 29 points off 7-of-13 shooting, going 5-of-7 from distance and drawing two fouls from beyond the arc.

He made big play after big play down the stretch, including burying a triple to put the Lakers up five with 1:20 to go.

Swaggy P also hit on nine of his 10 free-throw attempts for good measure.

Another fine game in what has been a season full of them for Young.

Grade: A+



Recent D-League pickup Manny Harris provided a nice lift for LA in 18 minutes, registering seven points, two rebounds and two assists. He also had a nice put-back dunk upon entering the game.

Jordan Hill was productive in his 11 minutes, taking advantage of size mismatches to tally six points and five boards. He went 3-of-4 from the floor.

Finally, Robert Sacre went 1-for-4 with a minus-19 in six minutes. A minus-19 in six ticks? Even though that obviously isn't all Sacre's fault, it still calls for a "yikes."

Grade: B-


What's Next for the Lakers?

The Lakers' seven-game road trip concludes with games against the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and New York Knicks. That's three contests against teams with losing records, so Los Angeles has a chance to put together a really nice stretch here.

As a matter of fact, after the road trip, LA only plays one team with a winning record (the Indiana Pacers) until meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 13.

Perhaps the Lakers can bust out of their doldrums over these next couple of weeks, although head coach Mike D'Antoni isn't even thinking about the playoffs.

Just putting together a nice stretch of solid play is good enough.


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