LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis scored 20 of his season-high 41 points in the final eight minutes of the game to help the Lakers close out the Raptors, 132-131, on Tuesday night. The Lakers big man has been playing some of his best basketball and went to the line 11 times in the fourth quarter and made all of his free throws.
Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković was furious as he lit into the referees during his postgame press conference addressing the disparity in free throw calls.
“What happened tonight, this is completely BS,” said Rajaković during his spirited rant. “This is shame. Shame for the referees, shame for the league to allow this. 23 free throws for them and we get 2 free throws in the fourth quarter. … If that’s the case, just let us know so we don’t show up for the game.”
Down the stretch, the Lakers shot 23 free throws as opposed to just two for the Raptors.
Davis set the tone out of the gate on the offensive end as he scored the first five points for the Lakers. The Lakers big man took advantage of the Raptors missing their starting center Jakob Poeltl. At the end of the first quarter, Davis had 16 points as Los Angeles led 28-24.
The Raptors tied the game up at the start of the second by scoring a quick four points. D’Angelo Russell responded with a three-pointer followed by Max Christie who made a tough layup. LeBron James knocked down a three-pointer from the logo that brought the fans to their feet.
The Raptors were up by two at halftime, 53-51. The Lakers came out flat to start the third quarter that allowed Toronto to take a five-point lead. A pair of shots by James followed by a three by Taurean Prince put the Lakers back within striking distance as the Raptors lead was cut to two points again.
Max Christie and D’Angelo Russell both knocked down three-pointers to give the Lakers a six-point advantage with nearly a minute left in the quarter. Gary Trent Jr. responded with a three of his own that gave the Raptors a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 89-88.
Christian Wood is “confident” in his role as backup center
Wood made two clutch shots to kick off the final quarter that helped the Lakers regain the lead. Darvin Ham discussed postgame how Wood has settled in nicely to his role as the backup center for Los Angeles.
Earlier in the season, Wood was in and out of the lineup, but as of late he has gotten consistent minutes and capitalized on his time on the court. Through the past four games, he has found his rhythm offensively as well.
“That man only cares about a bucket,” James jokingly remarked about Wood.
“I do love my buckets,” Wood responded in kind. He finished with 14 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block in 24 minutes on the night.
Cam Reddish finally gets shots to fall
Cam Reddish nailed four of his six, three-point attempts. There was a scary moment for Reddish late in the fourth quarter, where Raptors point guard Immanuel Quickley elbowed him in the face. The play resulted in Quickley being called for his sixth foul that was ultimately assessed as flagrant and he was ejected. The foul did not appear to be intentional and Quickley checked on Reddish who was hunched over at the baseline after the blow. Quickley ended the night with 21 points, five boards and five assists in a little over 26 minutes. Reddish would split a pair of free throws before heading into the locker room. He wrapped the night with 13 points on four-of-seven shooting to go along with one rebound, one steal and one block.
Toronto hung around in the back-and-forth battle as the two teams traded three-point shots late in the fourth quarter. Former Laker Dennis Schröder made a three-pointer to make it a two-point game. On the other end, Anthony Davis was sent to the line again and made both free throws as “MVP” chants rang out. Pascal Siakam shot a buzzer beater three as the Lakers secured a one-point victory.
- Rui Hachimura was listed as doubtful for the game on Tuesday. Ham announced during the pregame that Hachimura is still day-to-day.
- A lucky Laker fan hit a half court shot that came with a $100,000 prize.
The Lakers are back to .500 on the season (19-19), after securing their second consecutive win and hope to make it a third straight victory when Los Angeles hosts the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.