The Toronto Raptors had no answer for Kobe and company as they dropped another game in the standings, losing 112-99 against the Lakers.
Chris Bosh was held under 20 points for the first time this season, adding only 12 points with six rebounds and an uncharacteristic four turnovers.
Playing in front of the celebrities and 18,000 Laker fans, the Raptors put up a fight but didn't have enough firepower to compete with the Lakers, who now own the NBA's best record at 14-1.
In the third quarter the Rap's were only down four points and had possession of the ball, three straight turnovers quickly extinguished that small deficit as the Laker's went on a quick 6-0 run lead by Kobe Bryant.
Anthony Parker led Toronto with 19 points and five teammates also scored in double figures. Jermaine O'Neal missed his third straight game because of a sprained left ankle. The Raptors are now 8-8 on the season and this is not how Raptor fans expected the season to start.
I have noticed a trend the past few games in regards to Sam Mitchell's coaching strategies. It seems Mitchell has a knack for leaving his second unit on the floor in close game situations. Jose Calderon played only 31 minutes (granted he has a sore hamstring) and Chris Bosh only 37, seven minutes less then his average.
It seems like when the Raptors finally get some momentum, Mitchell is quick to either call a timeout or make a substitution. Too many times last night I saw the Raptors top players sitting on the bench while the second unit struggled.
Mitchell needs to do a better job of distributing the minutes.
Rookie point guards Roko Ukic and Wil Solomon played a combined 22 minutes last night while all-star point guard Calderon watched on. When playing a team such as the Lakers, your best players need to play about 40 minutes a game, especially when you are losing. Anthony Parker played only 28 minutes and he is their best defender and the only one who could at least challenge Kobe's shots.
Mitchell needs to turn this team around quickly or he could be out the door.
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