The Champs are here: Raptors handle Lakers behind big Lowry game

Ross Houston
August 2, 2020

MANILA-The Toronto Raptors issued a huge statement on Sunday (Philippine Time), romping National Basketball Association title favorites Los Angeles Lakers, 107-92, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, USA.

Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lift the defending National Basketball Association champion Toronto Raptors over the Los Angeles Lakers 107-92 in a showdown of title contenders Saturday. In addition to Lowry, OG Anunoby scored 23 points and stood tall in the task of guarding LeBron James while Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam each scored in double figures. Further, analysis reveals that LeBron James and Lakers still have to improve a lot as it was a very closed call.

The NBA's resume remains not unprecedented. The stakes, on several levels, are huge. Emotions are working - and it had been evident from the night time pre-game ceremonies. Linking arms in a line behind the words "Black Lives Matter" on the court, the Raptors changed knees in unison between "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "O Canada", a powerful message of togetherness.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder took control early to beat the Utah Jazz 110-94 in its first game of the NBA's restart.

"Nearly five months after, playing unprecedented conditions which have virtual lovers and piped in sound in the NBA's" bubble" in Walt Disney World, the Raptors immediately made up for lost time.

Toronto took a 13-0 lead as the Lakers went 4:51 before scoring, but the Lakers rallied within 23-21 after the first quarter. But the Lakers had sliced Toronto's advantage to 72-70 with one quarter to play.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse had said the previous day that his team would treat the two anthems as "one long song", noting that Canada has issues with police brutality it needs to work on also.

Lowry hit 5-of-9 3-pointers and 8-of-16 shots from the floor. The large bucket set the match out but out of the reach.

Saturday's game was the Raptors' first of eight seeding-round matchups each of the 22 teams are playing in the NBA's "bubble" at Walt Disney World. They confront Miami on Monday.

The arena images speak of these extraordinary times.

The players' activism followed weeks of soul-searching about racism and police brutality in the United States following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest by police on May 25 in Minneapolis.

They're front and centre at the NBA's restart.

NBA teams bowed their heads and knelt during the playing of the US national anthem while wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts on Thursday as the league returned for the first time since the coronavirus halted play in March with two thrilling games.

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