Lakers News: LeBron James Says Raptors 'Came out and Hit Us Right in the Mouth'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2018

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels after a foul is called against the Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Toronto Raptors played without Kawhi Leonard on Sunday night, but it did not matter. They raced to a 31-point first-quarter lead over the Los Angeles Lakers and didn't stop until they closed out a 121-107 victory.

"They just came out and hit us right in the mouth," LeBron James told reporters after the game. "It's going to be very, very hard to make a game out of that when you're trying to expend so much energy trying to get back in it."

The loss dropped the Lakers to 4-6 and was perhaps the nadir of their young season. James looked listless on both ends of the floor on his way to an 18-point, six-assist, two-rebound performance before he headed to Diddy's birthday party. Los Angeles has outscored its opponents with James off the floor and has been outscored with him on it, per NBA.com.

The Lakers' sloppy defense allowed Serge Ibaka to dominate inside, and the big man posted a career-high 34 points and 10 rebounds.

Lakers coach Luke Walton said a team without its star can take advantage of its opponent.

"That always plays out in my experience in these games, and I have played in a lot of these games and I know what it is like to think, 'OK, this game just got a lot easier,'" he said. "And my experience, unfortunately, most of the time that the player like Kawhi sits out, that team ends up winning or at least goes on a hell of a run."

James has remained poised during the Lakers' struggles, which have garnered criticism from fans and team president Magic Johnson. Walton has taken the brunt of the disapproval thus far, but James' lackadaisical effort on defense has also been noticeable.

The Lakers are off Monday and Tuesday before they host the Minnesota Timberwolves, perhaps the only team in the NBA in more turmoil.


Richard Jefferson was the guest on the latest edition of The Full 48 podcast and spoke about James, the Lakers and much more. To hear the Lakers discussion, jump to 47:46.