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Toronto Raptors

Four takeaways from the Toronto Raptors 111-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers

#Kawhi LeBron

The Toronto Raptors came away with a 111-98 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to sweep the season series.

They were without Kyle Lowry (ankle) and Serge Ibaka (suspension), but Jeremy Lin and Marc Gasol filled into the starting lineup with ease.

The Raptors get some revenge on LeBron James, who has swept the Raptors out of the playoffs in back-to-back postseasons.

Here are your takeaways from Friday's victory...

Gasol and Lin get the start

With Kyle Lowry out with a left ankle sprain and Serge Ibaka serving the first of his three game suspension the Raptors called upon their two deadline acquisitions to fill the open spots in the starting lineup and Gasol and Lin delivered.

Gasol finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals shooting 5-for-10 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Gasol also sat the entire fourth quarter with the outcome already decided.

Lin finished with nine points, seven rebounds, one assist, one block and just one turnover in 21 minutes of play.

This notched Gasol's sixth start of the season as head coach Nick Nurse has experimented rotating him and Ibaka in the starting lineup. With Ibaka's suspension, we'll see at least two more games with Gasol in the first five.

In his six games as a starter for the Raptors this season he is averaging 11.5 points on a 44.8 field goal percentage and 30.8 3-point percentage. He also averages 7.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 steals.

Off the bench, all of those numbers (and his minutes) take a slight dip while his efficiency has a slight increase.

Ibaka is a better scorer as a starter, scoring 5.1 more points per game on more efficient shooting from the field and 3-point land, but his rebounding numbers change in the slightest and he averages more blocks coming off the bench.

Following Ibaka's suspension it should be a tough decision for Nurse in deciding who will start at the five moving forward, but do not be surprised if the Raptors continue to play it off of their matchups on a nightly basis.

Kawhi's 3-point shooting

This was Leonard's third game this season in which he converted five 3-pointers, tying his season-high.

The All-Star forward was 5-for-8 from long range on the night. He wasted no time to get going in this one, burying four of his five threes in the first half.

With one of the four coming by way of this buzzer beater to end the half.

Leonard is shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc this season, which is actually below the average for his career (38.3 percent). However, that number is still above the league average of 35.4 percent from 3-point range.

The Raptors are 17-4 in games where Leonard shoots 40.0 percent or better from deep. In the 16 games that Leonard has shot 20.0 percent or worse from three, Toronto is 8-8.

It's no secret that the Raptors are a better team when Kawhi is shooting well from the perimeter.

Powell steps up

Norman Powell was fantastic tonight scoring 20 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the field and three to go with eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

He scored 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter to get the Raptors out to a hot start.

Though the box scores might not show it, Powell has played extremely well as of late.

Even though he's only averaging 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists since the All-Star break, he's scoring when the Raptors need him to and he's playing great on the defensive end.

He's knocking down 3-pointers at a 39.3 percent rate and has stepped up big in wins over the Heat, Celtics, and now Lakers in that timespan.

Powell is a key role player for this team and it is encouraging to see him playing well leading up to the postseason.

Dominating the Lakers and the West

With tonight's win, the Raptors have now beaten the Lakers nine consecutive times.

This victory was also an impressive milestone, reaching the 20-win mark against the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history.

Toronto is 10-0 on the season against the Pacific Division, while no other team in the NBA is undefeated against a particular division this season.

And arguably the most important of any of these stats - it is the first time the Raptors have swept LeBron in a season series, ridding themselves of the 'LeBronto' shadow for the moment.

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