Lakers rule from the arc

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- It has been an area of the Raptors' game all season in which they have only rarely been challenged, let alone bettered.

The three-point line has, for most of the season, been the Raptors' domain but last night it belong to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oh, the Raptors got a few themselves, seven to be exact in 15 attempts, but the 15 the Lakers hit proved to be too much to come back from. The Raptors' Western trip got off to a tough, if predictable, start, with a 117-108 loss to the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant -- who else? -- led the charge with four threes, but the Lakers got contributions from all parts of their lineup last night.

Derek Fisher matched Bryant's four with four of his own while Lamar Odom had three. Jordan Farmar had two and Coby Karl and Sasha Vujacic had one each.

The 15 three' by an opponent were a season-high by a Raptors opponent, but it's not as if teams have suffered that badly against Toronto in this category. It's just that usually the Raptors are either right with them or ahead negating the impact.

That wasn't the case last night.

"They made three-point shots, but we knew we would have to give up something," Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said.

"I thought we really contested the three most of the night, except for a couple of times when they got their feet set."

The Lakers came into the game tied for eighth in three-point shooting in the Association, a statistical category the Raptors have owned all season but you would hardly know it the way things unfolded.

The Lakers were hitting uncontested threes like they were 12-foot jump shots. At the half they already had hit nine of their 17 attempts for a ridiculous success rate of almost 53%.

They wound up shooting just over 45% from beyond the arc.

The Raptors, whose .406 shooting percentage from beyond the arc dwarfs the rest of the league, managed just four of nine in the half but a spurt in the third quarter got them a respectable seven successful threes by games end.

What the Raptors did well in the first half, and what kept them in the game, was their ability to get to the line, which has been one of the weaker parts of their game for a good part of the season and certainly not a strength with injured forward Chris Bosh out the lineup.

Still the Raptors got to the line 12 times in that first half converting 10 of them compared to the three trips and one point the Lakers got.

34 ISN'T 81

The nine-point difference helped offset the Lakers' three-point shooting prowess and the fact that they outshot the Raptors from the field in the first half 57% to just 42%.

A big part of that hot shooting was, of course, Bryant. He went off for 19 in that first half, nine of them from the three-point line. He wound up with a game-high 34, well shy of his 81 from two years ago but certainly sufficient last night.

The Raptors were lead by T.J. Ford, who played 28 minutes to the 20 Jose Calderon had, and wound up with a team-high 28 points.

Anthony Parker, who continues to pick up some of the slack in Bosh's absence, was next with 21.


Videos

Photos