The Toronto Raptors met up with the Los Angeles Lakers twice last season, and both matchups featured some sort of must-see event take place. In the second meeting, Kyle Lowry and the offense caught fire in awe-inspiring fashion, and their first meeting featured one of the bigger fights you’ll see all season long.
After Dennis Schroder was thrown to the ground by OG Anunoby, Montrezl Harrell backed up his teammate, and both Harrell and Anunoby earned themselves ejections from the game, which the Lakers won 110-101.
The Lakers made the playoffs, but they have limped to the postseason after injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis limited their effectiveness. Ever since that fight, the Lakers just haven’t looked like the same dominant force they did when they had everybody healthy, and that could impact them in the playoffs.
The Lakers are 11-11 since the fight happened, and that includes a winning streak that helped them earn the No. 7 seed. If the Phoenix Suns end up dispatching the Lakers in the first round of their playoff series, they might send the Raptors a thank-you card for knocking LA off-center before the postseason.
The Toronto Raptors have broken the Lakers
The Lakers are making just 32% of their 3-point attempts since the fight and are averaging 108.5 points per game in that span. If extrapolated out to a full season, that points per game number would be 25th in the league, while the 3-point percentage average would be dead last across all of basketball.
Harrell is averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game since his ejection. With his defense so bad that he is often singled out on the defensive end, scoring the ball is what he lives and dies on, and he hasn’t been getting it done since he lost his cool and decided to get into it with Anunoby and the Raptors.
The bigs have forgotten how to play defense, the shooters are building houses with all their bricks. and the defense is showing some cracks. Maybe shoving Anunoby was the catalyst that set this off.
The Raptors might’ve been cursed from the start of this season, but this scuffle shows that trying to poke the bear can force some of their bad mojo to rub off on whatever team decides to go after them. Hopefully, the Lakers can sort things out as soon as possible, or they might look back to this Raptors fight as the source of where it all went wrong.