Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka scored from 15 of his 17 shots to finish with a career high 34 points as the Raptors beat the Lakers 121-107. In this picture, Ibaka #9 of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a foul call while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 5, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors continued their best-ever start to a season by raking in their ninth win in 10 games, with a 121-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, whose struggles continue in the opening weeks of the new season.

LeBron James was signed in the summer to help a young Lakers team get back into playoff contention but they are unable to build any momentum and have now lost six of their opening 10 games of the campaign.

It was expected to be an easier game for the Lakers on Sunday night after it was confirmed prior to the game that the Raptors’ star player Kawhi Leonard will be absent due to a sore left foot. But it seemed to be anything but the opposite as Luke Walton’s team were blown out of the water in the first quarter after the visitors outscored the hosts 42-17.

The Lakers outscored their opponents in the other three-quarters of the game, but the damage was done in the opening 12 minutes. Raptors center Serge Ibaka led the way with 20 points in the first quarter, which saw them lead by as much as 31 points at one time. The center scored from 15 of his 17 shots on the night and finished with a career-high 34 points and 10 rebounds. He was ably backed up by point guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 21 points and contributed with 15 assists.

The Lakers’ poor form had seen the pressure mount on Luke Walton, with reports suggesting that his head coach job was on the line. But Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson confirmed prior to the game that his job was safe at least until the end of the season unless something "drastic happens."

Walton hopes his team will take the game against the Raptors as a learning experience as this was the first game they lost this season with a double-digit margin. He also admits that Leonard's absence had an effect on his team as it made them back off a little, which handed the impetus to the Raptors.

“Hopefully we learn from this experience and these games happen less and less … I think our guys are pretty good at being ready to play,” Walton said after the loss Sunday night, per Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell.

“That always plays out in my experience in these games … I know what it’s like to think, ‘Ok this game just got a lot easier’,” the Lakers head coach added talking about the effect of Raptors’ star player Leonard being absent for the game.

Meanwhile, James again made it clear that the Lakers have to do more and be much better if they are to challenge the best. He also admitted that it was difficult to come back into the game after being thoroughly taken apart in the first quarter.