Lakers

Lakers move closer to worst season with 94-83 loss to Raptors

Lakers need to win three more games to avoid becoming the worst team in the franchise's 67-year existence

It was quick and painless, pretty much the opposite of the Lakers' dreary season.

They were up two at halftime and down a lot more than that when the game ended with a 94-83 Toronto Raptors victory Friday.

Nine players suited up for the Lakers and only two scored in double digits, the sure sign of an unhealthy team if ever there was one.

They are now 19-52, significant because the worst team in franchise history finished 19-53, Minneapolis in 1957-58. That team had a .264 winning percentage. This team is at .268. What a race it will be over the next 2 1/2 weeks. Yawn.

The Lakers need to win three of their last 11 games to avoid becoming the worst team in the franchise's 67-year existence. There's scant evidence in their favor.

They changed the usual script of playing a surprisingly tight game, settling instead for only a solid first half Friday.

They couldn't generate any offense, getting 18 points from Jeremy Lin, 14 from Jordan Clarkson and … and … nine from Wayne Ellington?

They shot a meager 34.5%, totaled only 14 assists, and even Clarkson wasn't immune. He played 33 minutes with no assists, the first time he was blanked in the category since becoming the starting point guard two months ago.

"It was one of the first things I noticed on the stat sheet, was that he didn't have any assists," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. "When you play that many minutes, that's kind of hard to do, especially at that position."

Before the game, Scott compared Clarkson to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, though the hyperventilating should be put on hold. It was a tempered similarity.

"The one guy I'd compare [Clarkson] to, and this is obviously no knock on this guy because he's playing at an MVP level, is Russell Westbrook because of his athleticism," Scott said. "Jordan's nowhere near that [level], but athleticism-wise, he has that type of capability."

Scott liked Clarkson's "explosiveness," adding that the rookie could "get up and finish over the rim with the quickness he has."

To which the ego-less Clarkson responded: "You hope to be that good some day, especially to be in MVP talks and lead your team to the playoffs and championships and stuff like that. That's a big compliment for sure, but for me, it's just continue to work and get better."

Scott rejoined the Lakers after missing two games for the funeral of his mother, Dorothy. He watched them unhappily on TV against Oklahoma City, noting they gave up "damn near" 70 points in the first half. He also listened to the last part of their victory against Minnesota on the radio.

"It's good to be back with the team, with the guys. I know my mom, she would just say keep moving on, keep doing what you're doing and just keep trying to do it to the best of your ability," he said before trying to assess the past week. "I really didn't have any [emotional] outbursts. I think my only one was Monday morning in Golden State. It's where I just kind of lost it."

One thing didn't change with Scott back on the bench: Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer kept sitting out games, now three in a row for the veteran big men.

"Just keeping my options open as far as that's concerned," Scott said, alluding to the company line of the need to evaluate the Lakers' young post players. Boozer also had an upper-respiratory infection.

Center Jonas Valanciunas took advantage of the threadbare frontcourt, scoring 19 points on eight-for-12 shooting as Toronto played without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry (sore back).

In the end, it was just one day closer to April 15.

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