Lakers limp out of Canada seeking spark to save season

Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:28pm EST
 

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - The struggling Los Angeles Lakers were unable to solve their mounting problems in the National Basketball Association's most northern outpost on Sunday as the Toronto Raptors handed them a 108-103 defeat.

With the offseason addition of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Lakers created the NBA's newest super team, rekindling fond memories of the team's "Showtime" era from 1979-1989 with Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But the season has not gone according to script and the Lakers (17-23) limped out of Toronto with only two more wins than the lowly Raptors (15-26), having lost five consecutive road games and sitting 11th in the 15-team Western Conference.

Toronto also entered the contest on a four-game slide but there is no such panic in Raptorland where the bar of expectations has been set significantly lower.

The Raptors may be a young team filled with promise but their roster does not include a player of the same pedigree found on the Lakers lineup.

In the midst of rebuild, Toronto coach Dwane Casey is not particularly disturbed by his team's record but admitted he was surprised to find the Lakers in the same neighborhood.

"I would have thought they were nuts," said Casey, when asked what he would have thought if someone had projected the Lakers and Raptors would have similar records.

"It's tough, it takes time for those personalities and talents to come together. Miami went through it and it's not easy. Just because you have great talent on your team doesn't always mean everyone is going to click immediately."   Continued...

 
Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant puts his jersey in his mouth during a break in play against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch