“Just a touch short,” Bryant said. It might as well have been the theme of the night for the Lakers, who are just 4-8 in their past12 games. No play hurt more than Bosh’s missed free throw and Parker’s rebound. If Lamar Odom had grabbed the ball, the Lakers would have had a chance to win or tie trailing 94-92. Instead, Bosh short-armed the free throw only to have it bounce right to Parker. All Lakers coach Phil Jackson could do on the bench was sit with his arms crossed and stare in disbelief. TORONTO – There was no law of physics that could explain what happened with 12.8 seconds left in Friday’s game, when Toronto’s Chris Bosh missed a free throw so short that it somehow bounced off the front of the rim perfectly to Anthony Parker. On their 12th night away from home, playing their thirdset of back-to-back games, all while enduring their longest trip in 17 years, the Lakers had to accept that such bounces always seem to veer in the direction of the team that needs them the most. They caught up to the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter Friday, erasing what had been an 11-point deficit with 5:41 to play, only to have the road catch up to them in the final minutes of a 96-92 loss, dropping the Lakers to 3-4 on this eight-game trip. There was still a chance for the Lakers to tie on their final possession. Kobe Bryant faked Jorge Garbajosa into the air, pulled up from beyond the 3-point arc, and watched his jumper hit the front of the rim and bounce out. “I couldn’t even see if Lamar went to Parker’s body or not and really boxed him out or just went to the boards,” Jackson said. “That was a critical rebound. It changes all the dimensions of what you’re going to do on the next sequence.” After meeting with reporters, Jackson walked into the locker room and found Odom sitting at his locker. He asked one question, “Did you put a body on Parker?” and got into a box-out position as they talked. “Perfect bounce,” Odom said. “For him.” Parker made the second of two free throws – the Raptors went just 15 of 26 from the line – for a 95-92 lead. Bryant missed his 3-pointer at the other end and the Lakers now need a victory Sunday at Cleveland to break even on this trip. “The more years you’re in the league, you kind of learn how to make the ball bounce your way,” Bryant said. “You learn how to get up for certain games, how to attack teams. You become more of a cerebral player. That just comes with experience.” So the Lakers returned to the familiar themes of youth and inexperience. They went into the fourth quarter down 72-65, put a lineup of Odom and four reserves on the floor and wound up trailing by 12 when Bryant returned for the final 8:36. Bryant was kicked in the left leg and went down briefly but stayed in the game after a timeout. He scored 10 points in the fourth, but the Lakers made their run with Brian Cook, Smush Parker and Maurice Evans hitting consecutive 3-pointers. “It’s better that we gave ourselves an opportunity tonight as opposed to not even giving ourselves a chance to win it,” Bryant said. With the score tied, Bryant gave the Lakers their first lead by stealing a Garbajosa pass and taking it the other way for a layup. He followed with an explosive dunk on the next possession. But Morris Peterson answered with a 3-pointer that put the Raptors ahead for good at 93-92. Bryant missed a 3-pointer with 1:25 left over Anthony Parker and Cook missed a jumper with 25.9 seconds to play. If there was one bright spot, it came with the Lakers putting Cook’s outburst Thursday behind them. Cook played 17minutes, finished with seven points and discarded his warm-up top well out of Jackson’s vicinity when checking in. Bryant finished with 25points on 10-of-23 shooting, returning to Toronto for the first time since his 81-point game against the Raptors last January. Evans had 19 points off the bench while Odom totaled 17 points and 12rebounds. Bosh led the Raptors with 29 points and 11 rebounds while No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani connected on four 3-pointers – one with Odom blanketing him with 2:01 left in the third quarter – and scored 14 points. When the Lakers and Raptors played Nov. 17 at Staples Center, Bargnani missed all three shots he took and was called for five fouls in six minutes. Not only did Bargnani look like a different player, but Toronto was an unrecognizable team. The Raptors won their fifthgame in a row and for the 10th time in the past 12 games. The Lakers, meanwhile, fell to 11-15 on the road and dropped 2 1/2 games behind Houston for fifth in the Western Conference standings. Jackson took inventory of his team afterward and declared that Odom is playing at only about 80 to 85 percent after returning from a knee injury. Andrew Bynum has been bothered by tendinitis and Smush Parker has been more up-and- down than a country road. “We have yet to win a game in a long time,” Odom added, “where we just locked down on teams and win games on second effort and energy.” [email protected] (818) 713-3610 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!