LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a winning
start. No joke.
Long an NBA doormat, the Clippers (5-3) are off to their best
start in nine years. Although they won five of their first eight in
the 1995-96 season, they went on to finish 29-53.
All five starters scored in double figures against the Raptors,
losers of four of five after a 3-0 start. The Clippers shot 52
percent and held Toronto to 42 percent shooting.
"We have a big attitude change," said Elton Brand, who scored
19 points. "We feel we can win every night and we've thought
differently about ourselves since Day 1."
Their second-year coach, Mike Dunleavy, is pleased to see
"They have great chemistry together," Dunleavy said. "It's
fun to come to work."
Maggette liked the balanced scoring.
"The guys who are expected to do most of the scoring are me and
Elton," Maggette said. "But when you have your other guys
stepping up and doing a great job, it makes your team that much
Vince Carter scored 21 points for the Raptors but only six after
the first quarter, when he hurt the ring finger of his right hand
diving for a loose ball.
In a shooting slump recently, he finished 9-of-23 but made only
four of 18 shots after hitting his first five. With Los Angeles
ahead 82-59 after three periods, he didn't play in the fourth.
"The fingernail actually rolled back on my ring finger and it
was bleeding," Carter said.
The Clippers face the Lakers (4-4) on Wednesday night on the
court they share, and Brand said: "We have to be up for that one.
We aren't playing a home game, but we still feel at home."
The Raptors have been inconsistent. They beat Houston, Detroit
and Portland at home to open the season, and also defeated the Jazz
"The momentum we had coming into this West Coast trip was
tremendous and we felt good about ourselves, so we want to end it
on a good note," Carter said.
Ahead 53-49 in the opening minute of the third quarter, the
Clippers reeled off a 23-4 run to open a 23-point lead with 4:28
remaining in the period. They were in control the rest of the way.
The Raptors started with a bang and ended the first period with
a team-record 26 field-goal attempts. They made just 12, however,
and trailed 33-27 heading into the second quarter.
The Clippers trailed 15-8 before scoring 15 consecutive points
to move in front to stay at 23-15. Brand scored eight points in the
"They execute plays and they share the ball. I feel they will
keep getting better," Dunleavy said.
The Raptors' previous high for shots in a quarter was 19 in
the first quarter at New Jersey on Jan. 11, 1997. ... Carter had
the plug pulled on his iPod before the game. The NBA learned that
he had been wearing headphones and listening to music of his choice
during the 20-minute pregame warmups. The league said that
earphones are not part of the uniform and told Carter to tune out.
He declined to comment.
Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers fought valiantly but fell to the Trail Blazers, bringing another season to a disappointing end.
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The Trail Blazers advanced and the Heat and Pacers forced a Game 7. ESPN Stats & Information takes a look at how they did it.