Saturday, January 25, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Clippers 126, Raptors 118
By Jovan Buha Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
Every so often, there is a game in which neither team can string together multiple stops. Sometimes, it’s because of poor defense. Other times, a player or two is just unconscious from the floor and shoulders most of the offensive burden.
"It was one of those nights that there was going to be no defense played. We played just a little bit more than them, but it was a shot-maker's game. I thought an ABA game broke out in the middle of it," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the game.
Both the Clippers and the Raptors shot 48.6 percent or better, and little defense was played on either end. At the same time, there was an ongoing shooting duel, as Raptors swingman Terrence Ross scored a career-high 51 points on 16-of-29 shooting (10-of-17 on 3s), and Jamal Crawford nearly matched his output with a season high in both points (37) and assists (11).
The biggest difference in the Clippers’ 126-118 win was that while Ross was the primary source of offense for the Raptors, Crawford had plenty of help. Blake Griffin added 30 points and J.J. Redick chipped in 18 -- 10 of which came in the final 6:22 -- to put the Clippers ahead late.
How it happened: Toronto blitzed the Clippers early with a slew of 3s and took several double-digit leads before the Clippers cut the deficit to 37-36 at the end of the first. Crawford exploded for 15 points in the second quarter, helping L.A. take a 71-65 lead into halftime.
The Clippers stretched their lead to 12 points at the beginning of the third, but the Raptors rallied and tied the game at 93 off a Ross 3-point buzzer-beater heading into the fourth. Griffin and Redick scored 13 of the Clippers’ final 15 points, giving L.A. enough distance from a suddenly cold Raptors offense.
What it means: The Clippers (31-15) are now 4-2 on their two-week, seven-game road trip and have a legitimate chance to finish 5-2 with their matchup in Milwaukee on Monday. While most pundits predicted L.A. would struggle to remain above .500 without Chris Paul, the team is now 8-3.
Hits: Crawford’s 37 points, which was also a season high for any bench player this season.
Despite struggling with foul trouble, DeAndre Jordan managed to grab 11 rebounds in 33 minutes.
The Clippers were 22-of-25 from the free throw line (88 percent).
Misses: The Clippers, who allow the second-lowest opponent 3-point shooting percentage (33.2 percent), were lit up by the Raptors (14-of-29 from deep, 48.3 percent).
The Raptors nabbed 16 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Clippers 42-32.
Stat of the game: Six. That’s how many turnovers the Clippers had Saturday, a season low.
Up next: The Clippers finish their seven-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. The Bucks, who have lost 10 of their past 11 games, are a league-worst 4-15 at home and 8-34 overall.