NBA

Davis powers key Lakers win as Raptors coach slams officials

By Sports Desk January 10, 2024

Anthony Davis and LeBron James felt the Los Angeles Lakers had impressively executed their gameplan to beat the Toronto Raptors, whose coach Darko Rajakovic hit out at the officials.

The Lakers have won back-to-back games for the first time in a month after edging to a 132-131 home win on Tuesday.

Davis scored 20 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter and was was 13 of 17 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free throw line while adding 11 rebounds and six assists.

He made all eight free throw attempts in the final minute as the Lakers held on despite late 3-pointers by Toronto's Dennis Schroder and Gary Trent Jr.

LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists to help the Lakers win their second straight after a four-game skid.

Scottie Barnes scored 26 points and RJ Barrett added 23 with 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who had won three of four.

The 14 free throw attempts for Davis were a season high and ultimately proved decisive.

"He was able to get a lot of touches and guys were finding him," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said about Davis.

"And it was his ability to get to the free throw line and knock down free throws. It is just a matter of reading the game and seeing how it's going."

Davis added: "It was all of us, it was not just me.

"We had big-time stops. We got rebounds, and they wanted me to get the ball as far as free throws, but the team was just making the right reads and trying to finish."

It was a welcome win for the Lakers after they had also narrowly defeated cross-town rival the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

They are now back to .500 at 19-19 for the season and 13-6 at home, as they look to put their miserable 3-10 run after winning the NBA Cup behind them.

"We knew we had an advantage on the interior and we just tried to get it to [Davis] early and often and late," said James.

Los Angeles hosts the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, while the Raptors are on the road against the Clippers a day earlier.

The Lakers shot 23 free throws in the fourth quarter and 36 overall, while Toronto shot only 13 in total, with Davis going 11-for-11 at the line in the final period.

"It's outrageous. What happened tonight, this is completely B.S.," Rajakovic said, per ESPN. 

"This is shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this. Twenty-three free throws for them, and we get two free throws in the fourth quarter? 

"Like, how to play the game? I understand respect for All-Stars and all that, but we have star players on our team as well.

"How [is it] possible that Scottie Barnes, who is All-Star-caliber player in this league, he goes every single time to the rim with force and trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls, he gets two free throws for a whole game?

"They had to win tonight? If that's the case, just let us know, so we don't show up for the game. Just give them a win. But that was not fair and this is not happening first time for us."

LeBron was asked about the Raptors complaints and simply replied: "I feel like they fouled and we didn't."

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