Russell leads the Lakers past the Raptors 128-111 |

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

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

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., led all scorers with 28 points and added six assists and six boards 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 and mourned the deaths of their loved ones.

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

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The Raptors lost 17 consecutive games during the 1997-98 season, recording 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 setbacks for Toronto.

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Although the Raptors are technically eliminated from the postseason, they still have a few appearances left in the season.

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

Hundreds of yellow Lakers jerseys were on display in the lower bowl of Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday, and James – a surefire Hall of Famer – received a huge ovation as he jogged onto the court to warm up and again as he and Davis performed Introductions were named after the game.

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

Despite this hot start, the Lakers ended the first quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 34-25 lead. Barrett had nine points in the opening period and Quickley eight.

LA led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but Toronto narrowed that gap with a 9-3 run to close the half. Barrett led all scorers with 10 points in the second, although the Lakers held a 64-58 lead at the break.

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

Los Angeles, trying to make up ground in the hard-fought Western Conference playoff chase, didn’t let up in the fourth quarter and led by as many as 32 points. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham benched all of his starters with six minutes to play, and Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic followed suit, with both teams leaving their depth players on the court for extended periods.

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SOUTH ASIAN HERITAGE NIGHT – The Raptors celebrated the Greater Toronto Area’s South Asian communities with musical performances and dance performances throughout the game. These included Subhadra Vijayakumar playing the national anthems on a South Indian Carnatic violin, a half-time performance by Punjabi-Canadian singer Jazzy B and a time-out performance by Tamil-Canadian Mridamgist Yanchan Produced.

UP NEXT – Toronto visits the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

The Lakers continue their momentum on the East Coast on Wednesday with a stop in Washington, DC

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

&Copy 2024 The Canadian Press

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