Lakers vs. Raptors: Lakers beat Raptors because of inspired bench play
Lakers 120, Raptors 110 (final)
The Lakers can think their bench for their inspired play in the victory over the Raptors on Sunday, a win that allowed L.A. to finish with a 5-1 record on a six-game trip that began with a loss in Chicago.
Three of the Lakers' reserves scored in double figures, and the bench accounted for 57 of L.A.'s 110 points.
Andrew Bynum, who missed the first 24 games recovering from right-knee surgery, played his best game in a reserve role. Bynum had 16 points on four-for-six shooting, eight-for-10 free throws.
Bynum also had seven rebounds in 18 minutes.
Shannon Brown had 15 points on five-for-seven shooting off the bench for the Lakers.
Matt Barnes had 12 points off the bench for the Lakers.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Kobe Bryant, playing with a sprained right pinkie finger, had 20 points.
The Lakers improved to 11-5 on the road; they have the most road victories in the league.
Lakers 86, Raptors 79 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers came out strong in the third, opening a 16-point lead in the quarter, looking as if they were prepared to blow out the Raptors.
But that didn't happen.
The Lakers fell asleep on defense, allowing the Raptors to close to within four points at one point.
But Shannon Brown made a three-pointer late in the third and Matt Barnes made two free throws later to help the Lakers take a 10-point lead.
That was until Leandro Barbosa threw up a 42-foot shot that banked in off the backboard for a three-pointer as time expired, drawing the Raptors closer to the Lakers entering the fourth.
Lakers 57, Raptors 49 (end of first half)
The Lakers were much better defensively in the second, limiting the Raptors to just 15 points in the quarter after giving up 34 in the first quarter.
By the end of the first half, the Lakers had the Raptors shooting just 41.9% from the field.
The Lakers then went inside to Pau Gasol, who had 10 points by the half.
The Lakers shot 53.8% from the field in the first half.
Raptors 34, Lakers 28 (end of first quarter)
Well, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was right.
His Lakers did start the game slow against the Raptors.
Offensively, the Lakers did well, making 52.6% of their shots, getting nine points from Kobe Bryant.
But it was on defense where the Lakers had problems, allowing the Raptors to make 60% of their shots in the first quarter.
Amir Johnson, who attended Westchester High, hit the Lakers for 12 points on six-for-six shooting.
Lakers vs. Raptors
The Lakers have had tough games against the Raptors at Toronto's Air Canada Centre in the past, and they expected Sunday's game to be no different.
"We've had our difficulties up here over the years," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said before his team played the Raptors.
Part of the problem is that the game starts at 1 p.m., which is 10 a.m. West Coast time.
The Lakers seem to have a hard time adjusting to the time difference.
-- Broderick Turner