Kobe Bryant returns but Lakers fall to the Raptors, 106-94

Lakers star Kobe Bryant, left, drives past Toronto's DeMar DeRozan during the Lakers' 106-94 loss Sunday night at Staples Center.
(Paul Buck / EPA)

Raptors 106, Lakers 94 (end of regulation)

Kobe Bryant returned to action on Sunday night, eight months after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon, but the Lakers struggled in a 106-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Raptors power forward Amir Johnson had a huge night, scoring 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting with nine rebounds.


Bryant finished with nine points on 2-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. But the veteran guard had eight turnovers, nearly matching the Raptors’ 12.

No Lakers starter scored in double figures. Power forward Pau Gasol had a difficult night, scoring seven points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Five bench players scored at least 11 points for the Lakers: Nick Young (19), Xavier Henry (17), Jodie Meeks (14), Jordan Hill (11) and Shawne Williams (10).

Before the game, Toronto agreed to a trade with the Kings, sending Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to Sacramento for Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes. The deal won’t be official until Monday, but the three Raptors in the trade did not play Sunday night.

Toronto only needed eight players to beat the Lakers, shooting 48.8% from the field while holding the Lakers to 43% shooting.

The Lakers turned the ball over 19 times in falling to 10-10 on the season. They’ll host the Phoenix Suns (11-9) on Tuesday night.


Toronto (7-12) will return home to host the San Antonio Spurs (15-4) on Tuesday.

Raptors 73, Lakers 68 (end of third quarter)

The Lakers bumbled their way through the third quarter, falling behind by as many as 14 points.

Kobe Bryant, along with the Lakers’ starting unit, seemed rusty and unsure of how to attack the Raptors, especially on the defensive end.

Nick Young led a late charge to help the Lakers cut the deficit to five.

Bryant has played 21 minutes, but he has more turnovers (six) than points (five).

Raptors power forward Amir Johnson leads all scorers with 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting. Toronto is shooting 43.9% from the field and has committed only eight turnovers.

The Lakers have 16 turnovers and are shooting 45.9% from the field.

Jodie Meeks and Nick Young lead the Lakers with 14 points each. Pau Gasol has struggled, scoring seven points on 3-of-11 shooting while playing against Johnson.

Raptors 51, Lakers 47 (halftime)


Kobe Bryant made his return Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors, but on the court the first half was more about Amir Johnson.

Johnson leads all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting.

Despite falling behind by 13 points, the Lakers rallied to within four by the half.

Nick Young has nine points to lead the Lakers.

Bryant scored five points on 2-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.

The Lakers shot 50% from the field but turned the ball over nine times. The Raptors made 43.2% of their shots from the field and converted all 11 of their free throws.

Raptors 30, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)

Kobe Bryant played seven minutes in the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors during his return on Sunday night.

‘The Raptors quickly jumped on the Lakers, building a 13-point lead.

Bryant looked a bit rusty, air balling his first shot. He was subbed out for Jodie Meeks with about five minutes left in the quarter with two assists).


The Lakers eventually whittled down the deficit to seven but Terrence Ross nailed a three-pointer from about 60 feet at the buzzer to put the Raptors back up 10.

Amir Johnson leads all scorers with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Raptors, who are shoooting 47.6% from the field.

Nick Young scored six to lead the Lakers, who shot 50% from the field and had five turnovers.

The Raptors converted all seven of their free throws. The Lakers didn’t get to the line.


Kobe Bryant will make his return from Achilles’ tendon surgery on Sunday night when the Lakers (10-9) host the Toronto Raptors (6-12).

The Raptors come in with five straight losses, with hopes of bringing down what is ultimately a big day for the Lakers.


For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Raptors.


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