Gameday Recap Raptors @ Lakers 03-10-2023

 It's Now or Never.

With the Los Angeles Lakers finally building momentum for their final playoff push, there is no more margin for error coming into Friday night's game with the visiting Toronto Raptors. Riding the broad shoulders of one sir Anthony Davis The Lakers have played their way back into the hearts and minds of the Laker faithful. LA is seven and three in their last ten games, winning their previous two. Coupled with a Trailblazer choke job in Philadelphia, the Lakers are in a prime position to climb the ever-changing ladder out west. Can they capitalize Friday when a struggling Toronto Raptors come into town losing their last two games, including a gut punch from the Los Angeles Clippers? 

Let's Talk Hoops...



1st Quarter.

The Lakers take a punch but respond.

Vando would open the game with an offensive rebound tip and a slam dunk to scratch first. Dangelo Russell would make, on his first attempt nice finger-roll layup at the rim. The Lakers look sloppy early with three early turnovers. Lakers trail by seven, 17-7, at the 7:00 mark. The Raptors would make a statement with their pace and out rebounding LA 9-3 early, pushing the lead to 22-10 and forcing a Lakers timeout to regroup. Toronto would come out of the timeout and hit yet another three-point shot, this time from O.G. Ananunoby. DLO would answer with an old-fashioned three-point play soaring down the lane, finishing a layup, and getting the foul call. Austin Reaves instantly made his presence felt off the bench, driving to the lane with a nifty left-handed layup bringing the Lakers within seven 27-20. AR-15 would follow that up with a beautiful shovel pass on a fastbreak to a dashing Anthony Davis for an easy layup forcing Toronto to call its own timeout 31-24 TOR. With about a minute left in the Quarter, Dennis Schroder, who was moved to the bench for tonight's game to allow D'Angelo Russell to start, got a big on a switch and hit him with a couple of street ball moves pump faking the confused Center into oblivion earning a trip to the free throw line. He would hit both free throws for his first two points of the night. The Lakers would survive a solid first punch from Toronto, who ran the first Quarter at a breakneck speed shooting over 60% from the field. 

Toronto leads 35-31 after the first.

2nd Quarter

DLO is back.

The second would open up with Scottie Barnes hitting a jumper for his 8th point of the night. A real bright spot for the Raptors and their future. The Laker's first bucket of the Quarter would come from a corner three by Jarred Vanderbilt, who has dramatically improved the Lakers on the defensive end since being acquired from the Utah Jazz. He would score another consecutive three, which is a good sign for LA. Scottie Barnes would show some of his frustration for the hot hand when Jarred would lead a fast break gearing up for an easy dunk when last year's rookie of the year would horse collar tackle Vanderbilt to the floor. After an official review of the play, it would be considered a Flagrant-one. Two free throws and possession of the ball. The Lakers take their first lead, 45-44. I was very early in saying how much of a steal getting Vanderbilt was. He reminds me of a Scottie Pippen type of player, affecting the game in many ways and never asking to touch the rock. It's really a beautiful thing.

Malik Beasley would hit his first three of the night at the 5:40 mark, with DLO missing games due to injury- Beasley's three-point percentage dropped to 23% in his absence. D'angelo, who I have been extremely high on since being drafted by Los Angeles, has his fingerprints all over this game. Controlling the pace and making the right find, including a beautiful over-the-top entry pass to Anthony Davis, who would slam it home for his easiest bucket in over a month for Russel's fifth assist of the night. 55-53 LAL. DLO wasn't quite finished. He would assist on a Magic-style bounce pass to Rui, who slammed it home over a Raptor defender. Then Russel would come down and look off the defense to an uncontested layup, followed by a three-point bucket that gave LA its most significant lead of the night, 64-58 LAL. CRYPTO ARENA LOVES IT!! The Lakers would go on an 11-0 run powered by their new point guard, putting the Raptors on their heels right before the half. 



The Lakers lead 70-62 headed into the second half.

    • D'Angelo Russell 12pts 7ast.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt 14pts 3reb.
  • 29 Laker bench points. 

3rd Quarter

Lakers lose momentum 

Toronto would open the half with seven straight after a couple of Laker misses. O.G. Anuoby would hit from beyond the arc, continuing his perfect night from the field, going 7-7 with 20 points. After a pair of free throws from O.G., Pascal Siakam would finish on a fast break at the rim, forcing an early time-out. Toronto takes the lead back 71-70. O.G. Anunoby would continue his onslaught offensively, hitting his following two buckets, pushing his running total to 24PTS on 9of9 shooting thus far. The Raptors have seized control of the game leading 79-72. The energy that the Lakers were playing within that first half is all but gone, and the start of the third Quarter looks a lot like the start of the first.

Luckily Austin Reaves would enter the game and get Siakam up in the air with a Kobe Bryant pump fake and score the AND-1 bucket. The Raptors have done a great job double-teaming Anthony Davis every time he touched the ball. Forcing LA to turn the ball over time after time. At this point, O.G. was doing whatever he wanted to score over A.D.'s back-to-back possessions, including a fadeaway baseline jumper which resulted in a made basket, and a Flagrant-1 on Anthony Davis for sliding too far underneath Anunoby. Rui Hachimura would score the Laker's second field goal of the Quarter, stopping the bleeding momentarily. Until the Rui jumper, the Lakers were 1 of 11 from the field; give credit to the Raptor's defense. Although the Lakers had one of their worst quarters of the season, they would keep the game within reach mainly due to Austin Reaves putting pressure on Toronto and getting to the charity stripe.

Toronto leads 90-85

4th Quarter


Austin Reaves opens the fourth Quarter by crossing up Thaddeus Young and pulling an And-1 jumper. This man has put the Lakers on his back! He followed that up by putting Gary Trent Jr. on his wallet and stepping into a mid-range jumper. Que the "I wanna be like Mike." He has Crypto in the palm of his hand. "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!" As if that wasn't enough, AR-15 would rattle the rim sending Laker fans into a frenzy and having me spill my coffee all over my lap as I leaped out of my seat in euphoria. Life as a Laker fan hasn't felt this good in yearsScottie Barnes would come back down and quiet the crowd with a jumper of his own. 22pts for Barnes so far on the night. 

After the "Vandolrian" deflects a pass, he jumps and saves the ball inbounds ahead to D'Angelo Russel, who walks into a three that sets the arena on fire! The Lakers are up 100-96.

Barnes would settle the crowd again with a nice fadeaway over Vanderbilt. AR-15 would continue his fantastic night, slamming the ball on an open drive to the lane. After a missed Toronto field goal, DLO would walk into yet another three-point shot putting the Lakers ahead 107-98. We have been waiting all year for this feeling. After a Dennis Schroder three, Scottie Barnes would zoom past the Laker defense and lay it up at the rim, keeping the Raptors within striking distance. He would follow that up with a HUGE three-point bucket bringing Toronto within six. 112-106 LA leads with 3:35 to go.

D'Angelo would come out of the timeout and answer back with a clutch three-pointer of his own, nodding to himself, showing the crowd, "this is what I do." He would come right back down and hit another! HE HAS ICE IN HIS VEINS!



With a little over a minute left and the shot clock dwindling down to zero, Dennis Schroder would throw up a prayer from midrange, and the basketball Gods would answer, all but sealing up the victory for the Lakers, capping one of the most entertaining games for LA this season.

Lakers win! 122-112

My Takeaways

  • Welcome back, D'LO. The point guard we have been waiting for. Long gone are the days of Patrick Beverly and Russell Westbrook playing some of the worst collective ball-handling duties in Laker's history. Russell finished the game with 29pts 9ast 5reb and took complete control of the Laker offense. 
  • Austin Reaves is money. Quite possibly the most consistent and available Laker all season, Austin Reaves, has earned his spot as a fan favorite playing at such a high level since his rookie season. It seems like no moment is too big, and with AD pretty much being held under control by the Raptor zone defense. It was Reaves who carried the team through that rough third Quarter. 
  • This Laker team is so much more fun to watch and root for. The team has shooting and defenders and what seems like a squad full of guys who play for each other.


Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to read the recap. You can follow us on Twitter and IG and check Spotify for the audio companion named "Let's Talk Hoops."

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