The Toronto Raptors improved to 9-6 with a 91-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon. This matchup concluded a five-game West Coast swing for the Raptors, a trip in which Toronto went 2-3. The Clippers have now lost five of their last six games and fall to a disappointing 6-7 record.
DeMarre Carroll and DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 21 points for Toronto. Luis Scola added 20 as well to go with eight rebounds while Kyle Lowry notched a double-double with a 13 point, ten assist game. Bismack Biyombo got the start for the Raptors due to a Jonas Valanciunas hand injury that he suffered two nights earlier against the Los Angeles Lakers. Biyombo grabbed 14 rebounds and added six points. J.J. Redick led the way for the Clippers with 17 points followed by Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan who added 13, respectively. Jordan also hauled in 15 rebounds, and Paul dished out 11 assists.
This wild basketball game featured two halves in which were very one-sided but not just for one team. Toronto dominated all facets of the game in the first half jumping out to an enormous 63-34 lead at the break. The Raptor defense put loads of pressure on the Clippers’ players, and LA struggled to make shots. On the other end of the floor, the Raptors did a fantastic job moving the ball; something they have struggled with this season. The outstanding team basketball resulted in many open looks and made baskets. Leading the way on both ends of the floor in the first half was Carroll. Carroll was on fire, going eight-for-eight from the field including two three-pointers for all of his 21 points. Everything was going the Raptors' way, but the second half was an entirely different story.
The Clippers came out hungry in the second half, looking to go on a big run and close the gap. That is what they did but as a team loaded with offensive firepower, it was the defense that brought the Clippers back into this game. Toronto’s offense was horribly stagnant producing just two assists in the second half after having 13 in the first. The Raptors scored just eight points in the third quarter; tying a franchise record for fewest points in a quarter. The Clippers put up 21, shrinking the lead to 16 going into the fourth. A six-point deficit would be as close as the Clippers would get in the fourth after being down by as many as 29. The Raptors went on a quick 6-0 run shortly after, stretching the lead back up to 12 and the Clippers never appeared to make a push after that. Despite a very poor offensive showing in the latter half of this game, Toronto’s defense stayed steady barring the Clippers from completing the comeback.
The Raptors head back North to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday at 7:30 EST in Toronto while the Clippers head to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Tuesday at 9:00 EST.