LeBron James has publicly backed Luke Walton after a week of speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach could be on his way out. Los Angeles cut the margin to 117-107 in the fourth but they failed to get any closer with the game out of hand and James sitting on the bench in the final quarter.
With the Lakers' small lineups struggling to contain Ibaka early on, he became the first player to start a game 14 of 14 from the field since Shaquille O'Neal did it in February 2006, according to the National Basketball Association.
"Man, to me, the most important thing is about the team", Ibaka said.
Despite a 21-5 deficit in free throw attempts in the first half, the Raptors made eight 3s and shot 63 per cent from the field to lead 65-54 at the break.
The Raptors star tweaked his ankle on Friday in a victory against the Phoenix Suns. "We made mistakes on defense and got down, and I think when you're passive collectively, not communicating with each other, that results in breakdowns". Toronto plan to be cautious with Leonard to start the season as he was limited to just nine games with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017-18 because of a quad injury. That season, the Jazz played in the Municipal Auditorium, and lost their first six home games before finally beating Portland behind Pete Maravich's 30 points. Rather than seeking to team up with James, the thinking is that Leonard would prefer to have control of his own team, which the Clippers would offer, while still giving him the ability to return to his native Southern California. In that scenario, he would play Monday, according to Nurse.
Leonard left the game with 2:42 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"They have been playing like they are the best team in the Eastern Conference so far", James said, per ESPN, of Toronto (9-1), who were led by 34 points from Serge Ibaka.
The Lakers' first quarter was shockingly bad.