LOS ANGELES — Following a 113-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said he is still feeling discomfort in his right shoulder, which he jammed on a missed dunk attempt two weeks ago.
“There’s really never a play I don’t feel it,” Davis said.
He was still effective against the Raptors, pacing L.A. with 27 points on 10-for-20 shooting along with eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals. He aggravated his shoulder on one of those swats on Pascal Siakam, causing the joint to droop as Davis made his way back up the court.
“I’m going to go out there and play. I try not to let it affect my game,” said Davis, who hasn’t missed any games this season because of the injury. “I just play through it and then worry about taking care of it after the game.”
His treatment includes wearing a compression T-shirt under his jersey during games and having a heat pack applied on the shoulder when he’s on the bench.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis’ shoulder has “been fine” but acknowledged that he tweaked it Sunday.
“Obviously, we saw that play [against Siakam],” Vogel said. “Medical team didn’t feel like he needed to come out.”
The entire Lakers team, however, thought they needed to do better in their transition defense.
Toronto was able to snap L.A.’s seven-game win streak by outscoring the Lakers 11-0 on fast-break points in the fourth quarter, allowing the defending champions to break open what was a tied game heading into the final frame.
For the game, Toronto outscored the Lakers 33-11 on fast-break points, including 21-0 in the second half. It was the most such points scored by a team without the opposition scoring a fast-break point in a half this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“That’s kind of our Achilles’ heel right now,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said. “Transition defense, that’s kind of hurt us all season. You guys may not look at it because we’ve won, but that’s something that we need to address. And I think that’s one thing that kind of hurt us. A bigger issue throughout the game is just transition defense. We get stops and whatnot, but if we can clean that up, we’ll be all right.
“We’re the NBA’s best defensive team, but we’ve still got our flaws. That’s something that we need to start addressing. And that’s a little thing that’s just all about smarts and just getting back. We can fix it.”
The Lakers came into the night with the best defensive efficiency in the league and recognized the Raptors’ strength in fast-break scoring — Toronto’s No. 1 in the league, with an average of 22.7 transition points per game — but that recognition wasn’t enough to stop a Raptors team that was supposedly reeling from the losses of Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle) to recent injuries.
“We had to execute offensively, and when we didn’t, it was going to be a run-out that we couldn’t recover from,” Vogel said. “We’ve been showing great effort in transition defense, getting back in sprints and trying to make recovery plays. But that wasn’t really there for us tonight, and it cost us.”
The fast-break margin neutralized a strong game from Davis and LeBron James’ fourth triple-double of the season (13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds, albeit on 5-for-15 shooting). L.A. was 0-for-6 in transition opportunities in the second half, and for the game, Fred VanVleet outscored the Lakers 12-11 in fast-break scenarios, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The loss dropped the Lakers to 7-2, tied with the surging Denver Nuggets for the No. 1 record in the Western Conference.
“Obviously, we hate to lose, but they were the better team, and we just move on to the next one,” James said. “There’s still ways for us to be better, and we know that. We’re a really good team, but we want to get even better.”