The (3-17) Los Angeles Lakers have taken the 55 minute flight, traveling northeast 206 miles, to the most populous city in Canada and the capital of the province of Ontario, TdotOdot, to face the (12-9) Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. After another slow start for Los Angeles, multiple turnovers, failure to execute on offense or display the ability to slow down Detroit defensively, allowed the Pistons to snap a six-game losing streak to the Lakers.
The Pistons won the opening tip, proceeded to make a statement by reeling off 15-unanswered points, a lead that the Lakers were unable to overcome, en route to a 111-91 blowout win. Toronto is also home to a diverse population of 2.8 million people speaking over 140 different languages and dialects; 30-percent of the people in Toronto speak a language other than English or French at home. As a matter of fact, Toronto is also the fourth most populous city in North America, after Mexico City, New York City and Los Angeles.
While in Toronto, the Lakers could check out a bird’s eye view of the city skyline from the 1,815-foot CN Tower, visit the historic homes/mansions of Casa Loma or the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum. The Lakers could grab a chicken shawarma at Alibaba’s, a Jamaican beef patty at Allan’s Pastry Shop or try a Toronto favorite, a veal sandwich from California Sandwich’s or an empanada from Jumbo Empanada’s at Kensington Market. The purple and gold could also dine at any of Toronto’s top restaurants; such as Richmond Station, ALO Restaurant, LaVinia Restaurant, New Orleans Seaford & Steakhouse or Jacobs & Company Steakhouse.
The Raptors, currently, on a two-game losing streak, although this may be true, the most recent, a three-point loss, came at the hands of the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, in the process of their NBA-record 21-0 start. The interesting thing about the game was the scoring duel between league MVP Steph Curry (44-points) and Raptor’s point guard Kyle Lowrey’s (41-point) scoring outburst, the three-point loss, matched (a 106-103 win over in Utah) the smallest margin of victory for the Warriors this season.
At 25 consecutive wins; dating back to last season, the Warriors possess the third longest streak in NBA history, behind only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33 wins) and the 2012-13 Miami Heat (27 wins). Toronto’s potent backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen on average, post a statistic line that includes 43.4 points, nine rebounds, 10.4 assists, 3.61 steals while shooting 42-percent from the field.
The Lakers lead the all-time series 28-10 against the Raptors, although this may be true, Los Angeles is 13-6 against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. The Lakers riding a two-game losing streak, also lost to the Raptors, 102-91 on November 20th at the Staples Center, in addition to a pre-season game have lost three straight games to Toronto. The Lakers need more consistency with their ball movement, player movement, cutting, setting screens as well as trusting and executing their offense. The Lakers success or failure depends heavily on their commitment to all phases of defense. The purple and gold need to get back in transition, stop the ball also stop the dribble penetration of the guards, do a solid job defending the pick and roll play, box out their men, rebound, challenge every shot and quickly rotate out to open shooters.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Raptors: K. Lowry, D. DeRozen, D. Carroll, L. Scola, J. Valanciunas
Tip-off: 4:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Toronto: TSN (Matt Devlin & Greorge Armstrong)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Toronto : CJCL (Eric Smith & Paul Jones)
• Kobe Bryant (Stomach Issues) Day-to-Day