Fred VanVleet led seven players in double figures with a career-best 25 points Sunday night as the Toronto Raptors built an early lead and never looked back in a 123-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Toronto.
The win allowed the Raptors (33-15) to clinch no worse than the second-best record in the Eastern Conference in the first half of the NBA season, meaning Dwane Casey will coach Team LeBron in the All-Star Game.
Boston (35-15) has a better record than Toronto, but the Celtics’ Brad Stevens is ineligible to coach at the All-Star Game because he earned the honor last season.
VanVleet hit nine of his 13 shots, including three of his four 3-point attempts, to surpass his previous career-best of 22 points set earlier this month against Cleveland.
DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, while Kyle Lowry (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Jonas Valanciunas (13 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles, powering the Raptors to their seventh consecutive victory over the Lakers.
C.J. Miles (13 points), Serge Ibaka (11) and Delon Wright (10) also scored in double figures for Toronto, which had lost three of its previous six home games.
The Raptors, who led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter and 15 in the second, outshot the Lakers 50.0 percent to 43.5, and outscored them 36-24 on 3-pointers.
The Lakers, who had won four in a row, were once again without rookie star Lonzo Ball, out with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle scored 17 points apiece for the Lakers, who drew within five on two occasions early in the third quarter but never got closer.
Randle completed a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 points, Larry Nance Jr. 15, Brandon Ingram 14 and Alex Caruso 11 for the Lakers, who already had clinched a winning January (8-6), their first winning month since November of 2016.
The first half featured an incident between Valanciunas and Randle, which began when the Lakers forward accidentally smacked the Raptors big man in the face, causing a bloody nose.
Valanciunas retaliated shortly thereafter with a hard forearm to Randle’s back, prompting teammates to step in and separate the two. Each received a technical foul.
— Field Level Media