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Raptors rout Lakers

 

KYLE Lowry (7) of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket against J.R. Smith (21) of the Los Angeles Lakers during their game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. The Raptors won the battle of NBA contenders, 107-92. (AFP)

KYLE Lowry (7) of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket against J.R. Smith (21) of the Los Angeles Lakers during their game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. The Raptors won the battle of NBA contenders, 107-92. (AFP)

 

 

MIAMI, United States (AFP) – Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, sparking the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to a 107-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a showdown of title contenders Saturday.

Lakers star LeBron James scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Anthony Davis added 14 points, but the Lakers suffered their worst shooting performance of the season, hitting 29-of-82 shots, 35.8 percent, from the floor.

“Against a couple of great guys, we came in wanting to play well and we did a good job,” Lowry said.

The Lakers-Raptors matchup was the feature contest on the third day of regular-season contests in a bubble quarantine atmosphere at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as the NBA restarts after a four-month COVID-19 shutdown.

Toronto began the game with a 13-0 run as the Lakers went 4:51 before scoring their first points, their longest scoreless start in any game this season.

But after going 0-for-7 from the floor, the Lakers went on a 9-of-15 run and had pulled within 23-21 by the end of the first quarter.

The Lakers owned a 44-41 halftime edge but Lowry’s exceptional performance allowed the Raptors to seize command in the second half.

A 22-3 spurt pulled Toronto ahead 63-50 and a 7-0 run with James on the Lakers bench in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Canadian club.

“We just got aggressive, wanted to go out there and get the win,” Lowry said. “We were out there doing too much talking. We just wanted to lock in and do our jobs.”

The Los Angeles Clippers set a team record with 25 3-point baskets in a 126-103 romp over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Paul George scored 28 points and Kawhi Leonard, a key player in Toronto’s 2019 title run before joining LA, added 24 to lead the Clippers, who improved their second-best record in the Western Conference to 45-21.

The Clippers seized a 77-45 halftime lead and cruised after falling to the Lakers two nights earlier in their first bubble contest.

“As a group, we thought we weren’t ourselves (against the Lakers),” said George. “We tried to get our identity back. We put the work in and it paid off in the end.”

The Clippers hit 25-of-47 shots from three-point range, led by Paul George’s 8-for-11 touch from beyond the arc, although he went 0-for-6 from two-point range.

The Pelicans, who fell to 28-38, were led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s 15 points off the bench while rookie sensation Zion Williamson had seven points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

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