Raptors roll past fading Lakers

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[January 02, 2017]  LOS ANGELES -- Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 72 points as the Toronto Raptors became the latest team to take advantage of a fading Los Angeles Lakers team, handing them a 123-114 defeat Sunday night at Staples Center.

Lowry led all scorers with 41 points as the Raptors avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season and ran their record to 23-10. He added seven assists and nine rebounds for the Raptors.

The Lakers, meanwhile, continued their trend of fading late in games. They led midway through the third quarter but wound up losing for the 15th time since the start of December. After a surprising 10-10 start, they have gone 2-15.

Nick Young was one bright spot for the Lakers. He was 7 for 9 from 3-point range in scoring 26 points. Over his past eight games, Young has hit 36 of 64 3-point shots, the most 3-pointers made in an eight-game stretch by any player in Lakers history.

The Lakers also rediscovered some muscle on their bench. Forward Tarik Black played for the first time in seven games due to an ankle injury and combined with Thomas Robinson to spark a 12-3 Laker run late in the first quarter. The two combined for 10 points and seven rebounds as the Lakers built a 12-point lead, 44-32, early in the second quarter.

Robinson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes. Black had nine of each.

But the Lakers couldn't maintain that advantage with DeRozan leading the Raptors back. He drew a flagrant 1 foul on Timofey Mozgov in the last minute before halftime, and hit the free throws as part of a 26-13 finish to the half that gave Toronto a 58-57 lead at intermission.

The seesaw tipped in Los Angeles' favor again over the first half of the third quarter and a D'Angelo Russell trey gave them a 72-66 lead with just over seven minutes left.

But DeRozan again played leading man in a Raptors' burst. He scored nine points in the final four minutes of the period as Toronto regained the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

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 They took firm control with a 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter and extended their lead to 17 points at one point with Lowry scoring 20 of his points in the quarter. The Lakers' latest fourth-quarter fade was fueled by 2-of-11 shooting to start the quarter.

Russell has struggled since returning from a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee in late November. Since returning, he shot just 35 percent from the field and averaged 12.6 points in 10 games before Sunday.

But he had his best game since a 32-point night against the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 15. He tried to breathe late life into the Lakers with 14 fourth-quarter points, finishing with a team-high 28.

NOTES: Raptors head coach Dwane Casey held Patrick Patterson out of Sunday's game against the Lakers. Patterson left the Raptors game in Phoenix Thursday in the first half with a strained left knee. The 6-foot-9 forward has averaged 7.8 points and 5.6 rebounds this season. ... Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen rejoined the team for Saturday's practice. Madsen underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday. ... C Ivica Zubac was recalled from the NBA's D League and added to the Lakers' roster for Sunday's game. The 7-foot-1 Zubac has averaged 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in 10 games with the Los Angles D-Fenders this season. ... Lakers F Larry Nance Jr. sat out Sunday's game with a bone bruise in his left knee.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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