Raptors Can’t Hold Off Lakers At Home

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TORONTO (CP) – Nick Young had 29 points while Pau Gasol added 22 to lead the short-handed Los Angeles Kings past the Toronto Raptors 112-106 on Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.

The Lakers (16-25) rallied from deficits of 19 and 17 points for their second straight win but only their third in their past 15 contests.

DeMar DeRozan had 23 points while Kyle Lowry added 21 for Toronto (20-19), which had its six-game home win streak halted. The Raptors also lost the chance for their first-ever season sweep of the Lakers after winning the previous meeting 106-94 on Dec. 8.

Lowry’s three-pointer pulled Toronto to within 102-101 with just over two minutes remaining. But Ryan Kelly’s three free throws made it 105-101 before Young’s three-pointer put the Lakers ahead 108-103 with 1:15 remaining.

Young’s two free throws with 20.5 seconds made it 110-104 and cemented the win.

The Lakers were without all-stars Steve Nash of Victoria and Kobe Bryant. Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, is out with a back injury while Bryant, a five-time league champion and Los Angeles’s all-time scoring leader, is sidelined with a fractured left knee.

The Lakers improved to 27-8 all-time against Toronto, including 13-5 at the ACC.

L.A. took an 82-81 lead into the fourth, thanks to three Young free-throws with 27.3 seconds left. Young converted a technical on Terrence Ross, then hit two-of-three from the line after being fouled by Ross on a three-point shot.

The resilient Lakers overcame a 17-point deficit to take the lead. Toronto opened the third on a 14-2 run to go ahead 73-56 but the Lakers tied it 79-79 on Manny Harris’s three-pointer with under three minutes remaining after both Kendall Marshall and Young connected from beyond the arc.

Gasol’s two free throws with 3.4 seconds left cut Toronto’s half-time advantage to 58-54. The Raptors surged into a commanding 50-31 lead in the quarter before being outscored by the Lakers 23-8 the rest of the way as Wesley Johnson had eight points in the frame while Kendall Marshall added seven.

DeRozan was a one-man show for Toronto, scoring 12 of his 16 first-half points in the second. The Raptors were 5 of 16 (31.3 per cent) from three-point range in the half while L.A. was 6 of 10.

Toronto led 36-29 after the first, erasing a 24-20 deficit by outscoring L.A. 16-5 over the final 2:58. Patrick Patterson led the way for the Raptors with eight points, including two three-pointers as the home team hit on 14-of-19 field goals and 5-of-6 three-pointers in the quarter. Gasol played a big part in leading the Lakers to their early lead with 10 points.

NOTES _ Toronto is off to Charlotte for a game Monday afternoon against the Bobcats on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. while Los Angeles continues a seven-game road trip in Chicago on Tuesday night . . . Toronto’s 94-89 home win over Minnesota on Friday night was its 20th victory in 38 games this year, the fastest the Raptors have reached 20 wins since 2007-’08 when they did so in 37 games . . . Toronto forward Tyler Hansbrough (ankle) missed his ninth straight game while forward John Salmons, who reportedly suffered a back injury against Minnesota, didn’t dress . . . Lakers centre Robert Sacre is a native of Baton Rouge, La., but grew up in B.C. and has dual Canadian-American citizenship.

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