TORONTO, Ontario (Eagle News) — The King’s reign seems to be over as he and the visiting L.A. Lakers are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. If LeBron James misses the playoffs this season, it will mark the first time that he has missed the NBA finals in eight seasons.
Although James up and left the eastern conference, Raptor fans can breathe easy knowing they helped in ensuring James has an even slimmer chance of returning to the postseason.
The Raptors down two point guards, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, were able to dispose of the visiting L.A. Lakers by a final score of 111-98.
The Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard, who had 25 points and eight rebounds. Norman Powel helped with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Pascal Siakam, who is slowly becoming a fan favourite, chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds.
The first half was a back and forth game with Toronto seemingly pulling away only to find their lead cut in a couple of possessions. Leonard put the Raptors up by 11 with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the half with the score 65-54.
Although the Lakers kept the game close at times, they never seemed capable of tying the game. The Raptors eventually put it away in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Lakers, 21-14.
James scored a game-high 29 points but it was not enough as he and the Lakers were defeated by Toronto’s balanced attack. With only a handful of games remaining in the regular season, the odds seem against the Lakers making it to the playoffs.
Up next for the Raptors is a meeting with their former head coach Dwane Casey as the Raptors face the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday.
(Jeremiah Balingit, EBC Southern Ontario Bureau, Eagle News Service)