Sports

Raptors, Lakers go at it north of the border

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will try to put the brakes on a two- game losing streak Friday night when the Los Angeles Lakers visit Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors clinched a playoff spot already, but they are closing in on a second straight Atlantic Division title. A Toronto win on Friday, or a Boston Celtics loss versus the New York Knicks, would give the Raptors the division.

On Wednesday, the Raptors fell to the Chicago Bulls, 116-103.

They played again without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who sat for the third time in four games. Lowry, who was also out for last week's loss to Chicago, left Tuesday's loss in Detroit with back spasms in the first half. Lowry is questionable for Friday.

Greivis Vasquez had 22 points to lead Toronto. DeMar DeRozan added 20, Lou Williams scored 18 and Terrence Ross had 16 points.

"Our confidence is still high," DeRozan said. "All we need is that one game to get ourselves going."

The Raptors committed just seven turnovers, but the last one was a doozy.

DeRozan, after picking up his dribble in the paint with a little over a minute remaining, passed the ball directly to Bulls center Joakim Noah standing on the sideline. Noah, wearing a white warmup jacket, caught it and grinned.

The Raptors wore white uniforms.

Toronto allowed Chicago to shoot 60.8 percent from the field and 52.2 percent from long range.

The Lakers have won two of three and are 1-1 on this road trip, which includes stops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia before a return to Hollywood.

On Wednesday, the Lakers outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-99, in overtime. It was a battle of the two worst teams in the Western Conference with major ping-pong ball implications.

Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points, including two free throws with less than a second left in overtime, to lift the Lakers to victory.

The Lakers were able to win for the second time in three games when Clarkson pulled down the rebound after Andrew Wiggins blocked Wayne Ellington's layup. Zach LaVine pushed Clarkson from behind, and the latter drained both shots from the charity stripe.

"This might have been a little bit of a learning experience for Zach in that situation," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.

Jeremy Lin scored 19 off the bench and Ed Davis added 14 points and nine rebounds. Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black scored 11 apiece.

"We had a lot of good things that happened," Lakers acting coach Paul Pressey said.

Head coach Byron Scott has been away from the team following the death of his mother. He is expected to return to the sidelines on Friday.

The Lakers have won two straight over the Raptors, including last season's matchup north of the border.