Raptors' early Serge too much for Lakers

Serge Ibaka scored 20 of his career-high 34 points in the first quarter as the visiting Toronto Raptors got off to a 42-17 start against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The Congo-born forward made 15-of-17 shots, feasting all night on easy opportun
Serge Ibaka scored 20 of his career-high 34 points in the first quarter as the visiting Toronto Raptors got off to a 42-17 start against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The Congo-born forward made 15-of-17 shots, feasting all night on easy opportunities like this dunk over the Lakers' Josh Hart.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Los Angeles superstar forward LeBron James admitted that the Lakers were stunned by the Toronto Raptors' blistering start, after they crashed 121-107 to the Canadian franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Sunday.

The Raptors outscored the Lakers 42-17 in the first quarter, with Serge Ibaka (20 of his 34 points) getting the better of the whole Los Angeles team on their Staples Centre home court during that period.

"They came out and hit us right in the mouth," said James, who scored a season-low 18 points as the Lakers fell to 4-6.

Before Sunday, the Lakers had never been outscored by more than 24 points in a first quarter in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55), according to data compiled by ESPN Stats & Info.

"It was very, very hard to make a game of it when you are trying to expend so much energy trying to get back into it," added James.

"I don't really like to talk about it being disappointing. There were a lot of things we could have done better today."

Lakers coach Luke Walton concurred that his team were not likely to recover after that poor first-quarter display.

"I don't know if we were tired from our game last night or what,'' he said, referring to the Lakers' 114-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

"That's not an excuse, but it felt like that in the first quarter and they jumped all over us.''

Once their starters had seized command, the Raptors (9-1) worked some of their reserve players into the contest.

Los Angeles cut the margin to 117-107 in the fourth but they failed to get any closer with the game out of hand and James sitting on the bench.

Ibaka finished 15-of-17 from the field and did not miss a shot until 5min 16sec of the third quarter. He also added 10 rebounds.

Kyle Lowry added 21 points and 15 assists as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors recorded their eighth consecutive win over the Lakers since 2014.

Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for Los Angeles.

"We really underestimated how fast they play," said Kuzma.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'Raptors' early Serge too much for Lakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe