LOS ANGELES (AP) — Serge Ibaka made his first 14 shots on the way to a career-high 34 points, and the Toronto Raptors didn’t need an injured Kawhi Leonard in a 121-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Ibaka had 10 rebounds and didn’t miss a shot until 5:16 remained in the third quarter, finishing 15 of 17 in a masterful performance. Kyle Lowry added 21 points and 15 assists as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors improved to 9-1 with their eighth consecutive win over the Lakers since 2014.
Toronto opened a stunning 31-point lead in the first quarter and didn’t let it dwindle significantly until the final minutes, when the Lakers’ youngster got the margin down to 117-107 with LeBron James on the bench. Toronto was forced to re-insert its starters in the final minutes to preserve the win.
James finished with 18 points and six assists. Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, They are 4-6 after their first 10 games with James.
Leonard sat out with soreness in his left foot, depriving Lakers fans of their only look at the superstar before he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Lakers would love to sign a second superstar like Leonard, who grew up in the Inland Empire area one hour east of Los Angeles.
While the Raptors embarrassed Los Angeles without any help from Leonard, the Lakers followed a resilient win in Portland on Saturday night with perhaps their worst half since James’ arrival.
Toronto took a 41-10 lead with 2:21 still remaining in the first quarter, and Ibaka outscored the Lakers by himself (20-17) in the opening period. Ibaka went 11 for 11 in the first half, while Lowry had 12 assists as the Raptors hit six 3-pointers and forced nine turnovers.
The Lakers also missed their first eight 3-point attempts before James made back-to-back 3s in the third quarter.
Raptors: Leonard has sat out three of his first 10 games with Toronto, missing two games last month to manage his workload coming back from last season’s injury struggles. He injured his foot late in the Raps’ win at Phoenix on Friday night. Coach Nick Nurse doesn’t know whether Leonard will play Monday at Utah. … OG Anunoby took Leonard’s spot in the starting lineup and contributed seven points.
Lakers: Starting with their fourth-quarter slump in Portland on Saturday night, the Lakers were outscored 75-34 in a 21:16 stretch spanning the two games. … Fans at courtside included Denzel Washington, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Ariel Winter, middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and UFC featherweight title contender Brian Ortega, who will fight Max Holloway for the belt in Toronto on Dec. 8.
Raptors: At Utah on Monday night.
Lakers: Host Minnesota on Wednesday night.
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