NBA: Los Angeles Lakers beaten by Toronto Raptors as poor run continues
Last Updated: 21/01/13 8:55am
Jose Calderon: Starred for the Raptors
A 26-point haul for Kobe Bryant was not enough to stop the Los Angeles Lakers from slipping to their fifth successive away defeat - 108-103 to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
The Lakers are now mired in their worst run of form on the road for six years whilst the victory ended the Raptors' four-game losing streak against their opponents.
The Canadian side were indebted to veteran point-guard Jose Calderon who scored 22 points and had nine assists.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni tried to counter the threat of Calderon by having Bryant mark him but the visitors never really found a way to nullify the Spaniard.
The Raptors' cause was also helped by the ejection of the Lakers' Dwight Howard who picked up two technical fouls in the first half - the decisive second coming when he and Toronto's Alan Anderson clashed after a Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) free throw with 1:18 remaining in the second quarter.
Los Angeles came back strongly, cutting the Raptors' lead to six points although Toronto quickly responded, extending their advantage back to double figures.
From that point on, the Lakers were always playing catch-up with the Raptors leading 83-70 heading into the fourth quarter and ultimately running out comfortable winners.