Try as he might, Kobe Bryant cannot do it all by himself.
Despite several stellar performances recently from the league’s leading scorer, the Los Angeles will try to avoid their third straight loss when they play host to the Toronto Raptors.
Bryant’s 34.8 points per game average is a career-high and he is also averaging 41.6 points over the last nine games, since returning from a two-game suspension for connecting with an elbow to the throat of Memphis’ Mike Miller, in the Lakers’ 100-99 Dec. 28 to the Grizzlies.
He is averaging 23.2 points in 15 career games against the Raptors.
Bryant scored a game-high 37 points—including 20 in the fourth quarter— but the Lakers lost for the sixth straight time to the Phoenix Suns 106-93 on Friday.
“I didn’t think (Bryant) had good legs,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He told me in the fourth quarter he was going to get hot. He felt like he was getting in his rhythm, and he hit a few in the fourth quarter. But he was really bothered by (Phoenix guard Raja) Bell. He did a great job.”
Los Angeles has dominated Toronto winning 15 of the 19 games in the all-time series, including a 7-2 home record.
Bosh also shot a career-best 17-for-17 from the free-throw line, breaking Vince Carter’s team record of 13.
“That’s free points,” Bosh said. “You’re going to have to reward yourself for taking it hard to the lane and putting pressure on their big guys, putting them in foul trouble and making them pay.”
Bosh, who leads the Raptors in scoring and rebounding this season is averaging a double-double in five career games against the Lakers, with 14.4 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Point guard Mike James is also having a career year with 16.7 points and 5.1 assists overall. The five-year veteran has scored 11.7 points with 4.7 assists in seven games against the Lakers.