Serge Ibaka delivered a career-high 34 points in a masterful display of shooting as the Kawhi Leonard-less Toronto Raptors rolled over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 121-107 on Sunday.
Ibaka drained his first 14 shots of the game as Toronto embarrassed the Lakers by grabbing a shocking 31-point lead in the first half en route to their ninth win of the NBA season.
“They just came out and hit us right in the mouth,” said Lakers forward LeBron James.
Once their starters had seized command the Raptors worked some of their reserve players into the contest. 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.
“It was very, very hard to make a game of it when you are trying to expend so much energy trying to get back into it,” said LeBron James.
“I don’t really like to talk about it being disappointing. There was a lot of things we could have done better today.”
Ibaka finished 15-of-17 from the field and didn’t miss a shot until 5:16 of the third quarter. He also added 10 rebounds.
“It is true I played great but to me we got the win and that is the most important thing,” said Ibaka.
Kyle Lowry added 21 points and 15 assists as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors recorded their eighth consecutive win over the Lakers since 2014.
LeBron James finished with just 18 points. Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers.
Leonard missed the game with a sore left foot which no doubt had the Lakers breathing a sigh of relief. If there was a mercy rule in basketball the Lakers would have exercised it in the first.
“We really underestimated how fast they play,” said Kuzma.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with a triple-double as the Milwaukee Bucks continued their best NBA start to a season by dominating the Sacramento Kings 144-109.
Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, securing his second triple double of the season with his 10th assist at the end of the third quarter.
“A great win for the team,” Antetokounmpo said. “When I drove the ball, they were wide open. I passed it, and they knocked down everything.”
Milwaukee, who improved to 8-1 on the season, recorded a season-high for points in a game and made a franchise record 22 threes.
Antetokounmpo’s first triple-double of the season came against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 24th when he delivered 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
Antetokounmpo passed to Pat Connaughton in the corner for his 10th assist as Connaughton drained a three pointer to give the Bucks a 108-82 lead at the end of the third.
With Milwaukee comfortably ahead 118-90 Antetokounmpo went to the bench for good.
Seven other Bucks were in double figures. Eric Bledsoe scored 17, Ersan Ilyasova 15, Malcolm Brogdon and Connaughton each had 13, Tony Snell and Khris Middleton each had 12 and John Henson 10.
Justin Jackson set a career-high with 22 points, Buddy Hield had 19 and De’Aaron Fox 15 for the Kings who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
In New York, D’Angelo Russell scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Brooklyn Nets kept the Philadelphia 76ers winless on the road with a 122-97 win.
The 76ers committed 28 turnovers and are now 0-5 away from home this season.
“That is not who we are,” said Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “That is an unacceptable performance.”
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits from Richard Barrett)