Tonight marked the start of the post-Rudy Gay era for the Toronto Raptors. Farewell to Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray. However, that wasn’t the only story today. There was a great amount of excitement surrounding the return of one Kobe Bryant. The Raptors were on a five game losing streak coming into the game but came out collected and had a 15-4 lead to start the 1st quarter.
Bryant showed his confidence on defence early, stripping the ball from DeMar DeRozan at the three-point line, which resulted in a fast break and a finished dunk from Laker’s Wesley Johnson. DeRozan was the focus for the Dinos early seeing as how he is now the key player to look for on the court. DeRozan ended the first half with 10 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. Also likely benefiting from Gay's trade to Sacramento, Terrence Ross, who showed a new skill tonight as he knocked down a ridiculous half court shot at the buzzer.
One of the standout things from tonight's game was improved ball movement, a breath of fresh air from a fan’s perspective. Amir Johnson had a tremendous start and it was thanks to him that the Raptors were able to maintain a lead against the Lakers going into the second half. Johnson played a great defensive half as well. He pulled down multiple rebounds and finished the half with 23 points and 6 rebounds. The half ended with a score of 51-47 for the Raptors.
The Lakers were unable to find their groove throughout most of the game. Not one Laker in the starting line up shot above 35%. For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry continued to find Johnson on the court and Amir finished with a career-high with 32 points, going 14/17 from the field.
The Raptors were leading by 14 points with three minutes left in the third but it would not last as this lead was reduced to 4 points in a span of only about two minutes. But the Raptors held on thanks to the play of DeRozan, Lowry and Johnson. Lowry in particular had a nice game, penetrating at will and finding open teammates. He finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists and in the end, the Dinos end their five-game losing streak with a 106-94 over the Lakers!
- DeRozan ended the game with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
- Amir Johnson had career high 32 points and added 10 rebounds while going 14/17.
- Novak had an awful shooting night going 1-9 from beyond the arc.
- Landry Fields failed to impress as a new starter going 0/6 from the field and 0/3 from the 3-point line
- Kobe Bryant 9 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in his return.
- Sarah's Eye: Nick Young can work that hairstyle. I love it!