The Lakers were a combination of sick, tired and old as they rolled into Toronto early Wednesday morning after losing in Cleveland the night before.
Anthony Davis stayed in the back, receiving medicine and fluids as the Lakers try to get him ready for the final games of their trip. LeBron James and Patrick Beverley, the oldest players on the team, got the night off to deal with lingering ankle and knee issues, respectively.
It meant the Lakers were left kind of rudderless, and ultimately hopeless, in a 126-113 loss to the Raptors.
“Just play the right way — miss or make shots, just play the right way,” Westbrook said. “Compete. And then whatever happens after that, you live with the results.”
When the Lakers get to the place where coach Darvin Ham envisions his team, these kinds of absences merely will test the Lakers, not break them the way they did Wednesday.
Toronto led by as many as 27 before the Lakers closed the gap late with the game long decided. Dennis Schroder scored 18 points, Westbrook and Thomas Bryant each had 16, and Damian Jones had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet led the Raptors with 25 each.
The Lakers' late push to make the final score respectable represented a response to Ham’s halftime challenge to his players, too many of whom let their disappointment in a miss or a no-call bleed into the next handful of possessions and assignments.
“The totality of our group and the totality of our franchise and program needs to be built on being competitive and being together at all times,” Ham said. “And I just felt that wasn’t the case in the first half. But I said what I had to say and left them to it.”
Both coach and players said things got better in the second half.
But forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, one of the players tasked with playing bigger minutes, had to leave the game after suffering a leg injury. He put no weight on his right foot as he was helped to the back.
“It sucks,” Ham said. “Juan, he’s a good soldier for us.”
Toscano-Anderson will undergo further testing Thursday.
“It's very difficult, especially for a guy like him,” Westbrook said. “He's a tough guy, but it can be frustrating. I definitely talked to him. He's in good spirits. Hopefully it's nothing too serious and he can battle back. But he's been a great teammate from Day One, and a better person, which is more important. He'll get back to himself.”
The Lakers will play Friday in Philadelphia, having split the first four games on their six-game trip.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.