LeBron James Injured as Lakers Fall to Kyle Lowry, Raptors for 3rd Straight Loss

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2021

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers just keep losing.

This time it was to the Toronto Raptors, who defeated the Lakers 121-114 in Sunday's showdown at Staples Center. Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam led the way for the victors, who improved to 27-38 and ended their three-game losing streak.

Solid showings from LeBron James, Andre Drummond and Kyle Kuzma weren't enough for the Purple and Gold, who fell to 36-28 with their third loss in a row and sixth loss in their last seven games.

Of more concern for the Lakers is the fact that James left in the fourth quarter and did not return because of a sore right ankle.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kyle Lowry is FEELING IT ♨️ Three plus the foul https://t.co/zBNBkFCSrp


Notable Player Stats

  • Kyle Lowry, G, TOR: 37 PTS, 11 AST, 12-of-20 FG, 8-of-13 3PT
  • Pascal Siakam, F, TOR: 39 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK
  • LeBron James, F, LAL: 19 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST
  • Andre Drummond, C, LAL: 19 PTS, 11 REB
  • Kyle Kuzma, F, LAL: 24 PTS, 3 REB, 2 BLK, 6-of-11 3PT


Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam Put on a Show

The version of the Raptors on the floor was not the one many expected to at least compete in the Eastern Conference.

Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher were all out, further undercutting a team that has largely fallen out of the playoff picture with a 9-21 record since the start of March entering Sunday's game.

Lowry and Siakam missed the memo they were supposed to just roll over and accept defeat.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Lowry getting everything to go in 😅 https://t.co/fPouTErh32

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

DR. LOWRY https://t.co/bsjXCqn9xT

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

EVEN MORE SPICE 38 Pts | 13 Reb https://t.co/kny6504hdM

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

Tell 'em, @Klow7 🤫 https://t.co/Iva9Qpjmsg

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

Levitate, levitate, levitate, levitate https://t.co/hSwvwSTgD6

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

In his 🎒 https://t.co/SVY7n1ObsL

The pair of 2019 champions combined for 41 points in the first half with Lowry draining threes and getting to the rim all while setting up his teammates and Siakam battling for boards, shooting over smaller defenders and taking his game beyond the arc at times as well. It was a brilliant offensive display against the league's top-rated defense, per NBA.com.

While DeAndre' Bembry and Freddie Gillespie played well off the bench, it was largely a two-man show.

In fact, the rest of Toronto's starting lineup combined for four points while they tallied 76. Lowry seemingly had an answer every time the Lakers made a run, converting a four-point play in the third quarter and hitting two three-pointers and a step-back jumper in the span of three possessions in the fourth to keep the home team at bay.

Throw in another key drive-stopping three from Lowry down the stretch and Siakam's timely drives to the basket and outside shooting, and it was clear they were the best players on the floor throughout the game.


Lakers in Precarious Position

While the Lakers proved they don't need home-court advantage to win the title last season at the Walt Disney World Resort, it may be time to start worrying.

They are now tied with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers, and whichever team finishes behind the other two in that group will be relegated to the play-in tournament. There's also the concern with LeBron's health, as he did not play the final 6:42 in what was just his second game since March 20.

He looked solid before exiting with multiple three-pointers and fadeaways in the lane.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Drummond ➡️ LBJ ➡️ Caruso Showtime starting early 🔥 https://t.co/XaRoXjAp4z


Kuzma ELEVATED 😳 #CenterCourt https://t.co/EBdcoZmH2g

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Dre with the crafty pass for the AD slam 🔥 (📺: @SpectrumSN) https://t.co/l7mzDFjJHu

Kuzma also impressed while providing a spark off the bench by catching fire from three-point range and throwing down a monster jam. The short-handed Raptors also didn't have many answers for Drummond's power down low, especially when Anthony Davis attracted additional attention.

However, the Lakers' typically strong defense was nowhere to be found.

They were lackadaisical on that end with slow rotations and poor closeouts on shooters. The only time anyone even came close to slowing down Lowry or Siakam was when James guarded the latter for a small stretch in the fourth quarter.

To Los Angeles' credit, it did fight back some down the stretch even without James. But it was far too late, and now it is staring at a potential spot in the play-in tournament.


What's Next?

The Lakers host the Denver Nuggets on Monday, while the Raptors are at the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday.