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News » Raptors-Lakers Preview 2008-11-30

Raptors-Lakers Preview 2008-11-30

Raptors-Lakers Preview 2008-11-30
The Los Angeles Lakers are off to their best start in seven years. They have to dig just as far into their past to find the last time they lost at home to the Toronto Raptors.

Boasting the NBA's top record, the Lakers look to win their seventh straight home game against the Raptors when the teams meet Sunday night.

Los Angeles (13-1) won its sixth in a row Friday night, beating Dallas 114-107. The Lakers' lone loss this season was 106-95 against Detroit on Nov. 14.

"We're a pretty smart team," said Los Angeles star Kobe Bryant, who had a season-high 35 points. "So if something is not going our way in the first half, we all come in here and not just talk about playing harder, but we also talk about the execution of it. That's the way Phil (Jackson) has raised us to play and think."

The Lakers matched the 2001-02 championship team for the best start after 14 games in the franchise's 61-year history. That club won three more contests before losing its second game.

Bryant was 14-for-26 from the field Friday after going 5-for-17 with 12 points in Wednesday's 120-93 win over New Jersey. He has had little trouble at home against Toronto (8-7) in his career, helping the Lakers win nine of 10 games.

Bryant has scored at least 31 points in each of his last four games versus the Raptors at Staples Center, including the second-highest point total in NBA history with 81 in a 122-104 win on Jan. 22, 2006.

His success has helped Los Angeles win six straight home games over Toronto since an 89-86 loss on Dec. 28, 2001. The Lakers are averaging 110.2 points during that run.

Los Angeles went 2-0 against Toronto last season, averaging 119.0 points while shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 45.9 percent from 3-point range.

The Raptors will need a big game from Chris Bosh and a strong return from Jermaine O'Neal to have any chance of ending their struggles against the Lakers. O'Neal (left ankle) has missed two straight games, but said he expects to play Sunday.

One of Toronto's strengths is its free-throw shooting, making an NBA-best 83.9 percent of its chances. The Raptors, though, may not get many opportunities at the line against the Lakers, who don't sent their opponents there too often.

On Friday, the Mavericks went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line as the Lakers recorded eight fouls, the fewest by the franchise since it moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.

Dallas was the second straight team that did not attempt a free throw in the first quarter against Los Angeles.

The Raptors had only 10 attempts from the line Friday night, making nine in a 93-88 win over Atlanta.

Bosh led Toronto with 30 points and 10 rebounds. He's averaging 33.8 points in his last four games, but has been held to 14.8 in four career road games versus the Lakers.

Bosh wore a brace on his left knee against the Hawks, but insisted it was only a preventive measure because of knee injuries the past two seasons.

"I'm just happy I'm back to 100 percent," Bosh said. "That's the reason for the brace, to make sure I stay that way."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2008


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