USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Raptors survived some bad refereeing and a Lakers team that wasn't ready to give in despite being down big early, en route to a 108 to 103 victory.
But it wasn't easy.
Despite Lakers' star Dwight Howard being ejected with his second technical foul before half, and what appeared to be a huge early Toronto lead, LA stormed back, continuously closing the gap getting to within five points with six seconds left.
But luckily for Toronto, that's as close as the opposition got and despite allowing 100 points, the Dinos came away with a win.
In fact, the last time the Raps won a game in regulation in which they allowed their opponent to score over 100 points was March 18, 2011 vs. Washington. Toronto had dropped 38 straight!
Thankfully, the Lakers defense was porous enough to help Toronto snap said skid, as the Raps shot 55 per cent for the contest and used some terrific ball movement early to jump out to a 25 to 9 lead.
It was a lead they sorely needed on this afternoon as despite some ill-conceived attacks from Kobe Bryant (26 points but on 10 of 32 shooting) and of course, a lack of Mr. Howard for the game's second-half, LA hung around. Perhaps to no one's surprise, Pau Gasol had his best game in a while minus Dwight, scoring 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting.
And while he started slow, Steve Nash got going later, finding Gasol for easy looks and dropping in 16 points himself.
But Jose Calderon proved to be the superior floor general on this day.
Calderon had 22 points and 9 assists but what you won't see on the box score is the way he carried the team on his back during stretches, and the way he kept the offense flowing with the Lakers making their final push.
Similarly, the contributions of Landry Fields look solid (18 points and 10 assists) but don't do his performance justice, as he was instrumental in this win on both sides of the ball. His defence, shooting, and in particular, movement without the ball gave the Lakers fits, and repeatedly broke down their defensive stands.
Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, Alan Anderson, Kyle Lowry, hell Aaron Gray - all gave the Raps solid minutes and in this case, the full team effort outweighed the Lakers vaunted quintet...er...quartet, at least for the second half.
And the team needed, as again, the referees certainly did Toronto no favours, calling Laker technical fouls during Raptor fast-breaks, and unfortunately once again, showing that there are separate rules for teams like LA, and teams like Toronto.
The Raps now move to 15 and 26 on the season and take on the Miami Heat Wednesday, giving them a few days off to rest and prep for the next slate of matches.
Miami will be a tough opponent and today's win, especially considering it meant Toronto held onto a lead for once, was therefore a big one.