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Russell leads Lakers past Raptors 128-111; Toronto’s loss extends to 14

D’Angelo Russell scored 25 points and added seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 128-111 on Tuesday.

LeBron James had 23 points and nine assists as Los Angeles (43-33) won back-to-back games. Anthony Davis had a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., led all scorers with 28 points, adding six assists and six rebounds as Toronto (23-52) lost its 14th straight game. Immanuel Quickley had 20 points and six assists.

Both players returned to the Raptors’ lineup after missing several games while grieving the deaths of loved ones.

Quickley took time off after his uncle Shawn Hamilton died of cancer on March 20, missing six games. Barrett, whose 19-year-old brother Nathan Barrett died March 14, missed nine games.

The Raptors lost 17 straight games during the 1997-98 season, which was the longest losing streak in franchise history.

Bruce Brown (right knee soreness) left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. His injury was just the latest in a series of health issues for Toronto.

Although the Raptors are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they still have some stakes left in the season.

Toronto’s first-round pick in this summer’s NBA draft is conditional, following a trade to the San Antonio Spurs last season for Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors have the sixth-worst record in the NBA, but if the May 12 draft lottery lands them seventh or higher, that pick will go to San Antonio.

Hundreds of yellow Lakers jerseys dotted the lower bowl at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday, with James — a surefire Hall of Famer — receiving a huge ovation when he ran onto the court for warmups and again when he and Davis were named during pregame. presentations.

Quickley and Barrett made an immediate impact, scoring Toronto’s first eight points of the game and contributing to the Raptors’ next four points, all scored by rookie Gradey Dick.

Despite the strong start, the Lakers closed the first quarter on an 8-0 run to take a 34-25 lead. Barrett had nine points in the first half and Quickley eight.

Los Angeles led by 13 points in the second quarter, but Toronto closed that gap with a 9-3 run to end the half. Barrett led all scorers in the second with 10 points even as the Lakers held a 64-58 advantage at intermission.

Davis and James had nine points each in the third as the Lakers broke the game open, with a 17-5 run in the final four minutes of the quarter, lifting the visitors to a 100-79 lead. Barrett brought a sellout crowd of 19,800 to their feet with a thunderous dunk with 2.1 seconds left in the period for his 26th point of the game.

Los Angeles, trying to gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race, didn’t let up in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 32 points. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham benched all of his starters with six minutes remaining and Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic followed suit, with both teams giving their players more depth more time on the ground.

SOUTH ASIAN HERITAGE EVENING – The Raptors celebrated South Asian communities in the Greater Toronto Area throughout the game, with musical performances and dance numbers. This included Subhadra Vijayakumar playing the national anthems on a South Indian Carnatic violin, a halftime performance by Punjabi-Canadian singer Jazzy B, and a timeout performance by Canadian Tamil mridamgist Yanchan Produced.

FOLLOWING – Toronto visits the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

The Lakers continue their East Coast swing Wednesday with a stop in Washington, D.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

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