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LeBron on Toronto: 'These fans are always appreciative of me'


LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled through Toronto Tuesday night, cruising to a 128-111 victory that sent the Raptors to their 14th consecutive loss. 

After the game, the future Hall-of-Famer shared some kind words about the city and his appreciation for the Toronto fans.

"Mutual respect and love every time I come here and play," James said. "Throughout my career they've shown me nothing but love, even during the battles in the postseason. These fans are always appreciative of me and I try to give it back to them when I step out on the floor," James said. 

Despite coming into the game questionable with a left ankle injury, James played 28:47 and scored an easy 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting with nine assists and four rebounds. 

LeBron has played 60 regular season games against the Raptors in his career, averaging 27.0 points. James made history in Toronto when he scored 56 points in March of 2005, becoming the youngest player to score 50 or more in an NBA game at the age of 20. 

He also played three consecutive postseason series against the Raps during his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, defeating Toronto in the Eastern Conference Final in 2016 followed by dominant sweeps in the second round in 2017 and 2018. 

James and the Lakers currently sit ninth in the Western Conference and if the season ended today, they would need to win two consecutive games in the Play-In Tournament to reach the postseason. L.A. sits two and a half games out of the West's final guaranteed playoff spot. 

Tuesday's easy victory helped the 39-year-old James keep his minutes in check, which he said was huge at this time of the season amid a playoff push.

"It absolutely helps. Every minute counts," LeBron said of playing less than 29 minutes in the game. "I was able to get back here and get going on the treatment and my prep, and start preparing my body, hopefully, for tomorrow night."

The Lakers play the Washington Wizards on the road Wednesday night in a back-to-back and then play three of the season's final five games at home.