Russell scores 28 points in return, Lakers beat Raptors
LOS ANGELES (AP) — D’Angelo Russell had 28 points and nine assists in his dynamic return from a six-game injury absence, Dennis Schröder added 23 points and seven assists and the Los Angeles Lakers won for the seventh time in nine games, 122-112 over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Austin Reaves scored 18 points while Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt added 16 apiece as the Lakers extended their impressive recent surge even with little contribution this time from Anthony Davis.
The superstar big man had only eight points and nine rebounds while struggling against Toronto’s defense, but Russell and his teammates took charge before Davis sealed the win on his only field goal of the second half with 46 seconds to play.
Russell was the centerpiece of the Lakers’ activity at the trade deadline, but the point guard appeared in only four games to begin his second stint in Los Angeles before spraining his right ankle. He returned to the starting lineup with a spring in his step, hitting five 3-pointers and making a series of high-difficulty plays that had the Lakers' home crowd roaring repeatedly.
Scottie Barnes scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the second half, and O.G. Anunoby made his first 11 shots while scoring 31 points in the Raptors' fourth loss to complete a tough five-game road trip. Toronto had won seven consecutive road games against the Lakers since 2014.
The Lakers moved into ninth place in the Western Conference three days ago with a win over Memphis, and they are excelling even in the middle of the lengthy absence of LeBron James.
Russell and Schröder led an outstanding effort against Toronto, and the Lakers surged away to their sixth win in eight games since the All-Star break. Los Angeles also went 19 for 19 at the free throw line. Russell racked up 12 points and seven assists in the first half while the Lakers erased an early 15-point deficit.
The Lakers managed just four field goals in a nightmare third quarter, but took a nine-point lead midway through the fourth with a 26-8 run.
Raptors: Will Barton scored five points in his return from a one-game absence with a non-COVID illness. ... Jakob Poeltl had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Lakers: Coach Darvin Ham said they haven't decided whether to sign a backup center with new acquisition Mo Bamba possibly sidelined until the postseason by a high left ankle sprain. ... Davis turns 30 on Saturday.
Raptors: Host Denver on Tuesday night.
Lakers: Host New York on Sunday night.
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Greg Beacham, The Associated Press