As expected, Bryant was real rusty and could only muster nine points and eight rebounds in his season debut. However, Amir Johnson put in 32 points to lead all scorers and helped the Toronto Raptors win 106-94 in a game played in LA Sunday night.
Bryant, the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history began his 18th NBA season by going 2-for-9 with four assists and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. In a game that the Lakers never led, Toronto went on to snap its five-game losing streak.
Interestingly Toronto also won without the services of their star forward Rudy Gay, who is expected to be traded to Sacramento on Monday as the centerpiece of an apparent seven-player deal, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, for Toronto, Kyle Lowry had 23 points and eight assists, and DeMar DeRozan added 10 of his 26 points in the final 4:35 of the Raptors’ first road win over the Lakers in 11 games that goes all the way back to Dec. 28, 2001.
Nick Young was the high scorer for the Lakers with 19 points. The team went 10-9 without Bryant this season, forging a winning record without the five-time NBA champion and with very little help from the oft injured and old Steve Nash.