It wasn't pretty, but the Los Angeles Lakers improved to 6-0 on the season with a sloppy 108-103 win over the Toronto Raptors Friday night at Staples Center.Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 30 points, and added seven boards, leading the Lakers to their fifth 6-0 start in franchise history.
It looked like the Lakers would put this game away early, building a 13-point lead with 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, but the Raptors came roaring back thanks to strong bench play. Leandro Barbosa led the way with 15 first-half points, helping Toronto outscore the Lakers 36-20 in the final 10 minutes of the half. Barbosa hit a three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in the first half to give the Raptors a 58-55 lead at halftime.
Gasol and Kobe Bryant each scored 20 points for the sixth straight game, the first time two Lakers have had such a streak to open the season since Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West turned the trick in 1970-1971. Bryant hit another milestone tonight, as his six field goals game him 9,019 in his career. Bryant passed Jerry West for second place on the all-time franchise list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his 9,935 field goals as a Laker.
The Lakers played better defense in the second half, allowing just 39.5% shooting in the final 24 minutes. The Raptors out-rebounded the Lakers 49-31 in the game. Barbosa led the Raptors with 17 points, although he only scored two points after halftime. Steve Blake hit four of six three-point attempts for the Lakers, and has hit 12 of 23 (52.2%) from beyond the arc this season.
All three undefeated teams in the NBA won tonight, as both New Orleans and Atlanta joined the Lakers in the win column. The Lakers next play Sunday night, hosting Portland at Staples Center.
For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.