Los Angeles, which won’t return home until after the All-Star break, is without injured stars Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. Bryant was placed on the injured list Friday because of a severe cut on his right index finger that will keep him out of action for at least a week.
Malone is most likely out until mid-March with a sprained knee injury.
The Lakers played an inspired first half against Minnesota on Friday before falling 97-84. Los Angeles took a 44-35 halftime lead but couldn’t sustain it in the second half.
“It is just time for us to put together solid 48-minute games and try to get back on track,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who had 22 points in the loss. “I thought we had that game, but in the second half they shot the ball well and we just relied on our jump shot too much.”
The Lakers will face a struggling Toronto squad that has dropped six of its last seven games, including Friday’s 90-89 overtime loss to Detroit.
Vince Carter had 31 points for the Raptors, including a 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left that sent the game into overtime. Carter, who averaged just 13 points in his previous three games after returning from a quadriceps injury, went 13-for-26 from the field.
“It’s definitely a tough loss, especially after the big-time shot Vince Carter made putting the game into overtime,” Jalen Rose said.
Rose, who turned 31 on Friday, went 2-for-12 from the field for just six points. He didn’t return after Alvin Williams replaced him with 4:14 left in regulation.
“I wish I could have stepped up and played a solid game,” Rose said.