Surprising Clippers Continue Fast Start
L.A. Clippers 103, Toronto 100
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 23 (Ticker) -- Corey Maggette and Sam Cassell were the latest heroes in the continuing resurgence of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Maggette scored a season-high 30 points and Cassell added 27 as the Clippers came from behind to post their fourth straight win, a 103-100 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.
"This is definitely one of those tonight we would have lost last year," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Tonight, our defense shut them down and we scored more points. We had to put points on the board and we did."
Trailing for most of the game, the Clippers closed the gap when Cassell scored 10 consecutive points and Elton Brand made a free throw before Maggette nailed a 3-pointer that tied the game 96-96 with 3:01 to play.
"That's my job," Cassell said. "Situations get tight and I am going to have the ball in my hands most of the time. The last couple of games, I've just been making plays for my teammates. Tonight, it was my turn to make plays. This team is coming together so good that it doesn't matter who makes the plays."
Brand followed with a jumper to give the Clippers the lead before Chris Bosh made 1-of-2 free throws and Mike James hit a running jumper with 1:25 to go to put Toronto on top 99-98.
"We wanted to dominate this game," Brand said. "The turnovers really hurt us. They were unforced turnovers like dribbling the ball off our foot or kicking it out of bounds."
After Chris Kaman made a jump hook in the lane with 1:12 left, Morris Peterson missed a 3-pointer from the right side against a zone defense with seven seconds remaining.
"The ball was thrown to me in the low post," Kaman said. "I waited to see if they came to double me. I'd been turning it over too much lately and I just wanted to be smart and patient. And they didn't double so I just want at it."
James made 1-of-2 from the line and Maggette hit three foul shots in the final seconds before James missed a desperation 3-pointer from the backcourt as the horn sounded.
"All eleven losses hurt," James said. "You can't look at one greater than another. I just think we had chances to win and we just didn't capitalize on certain plays. Calls started going their way and they picked up the intensity of the game. We just folded at the end of the game."
Brand scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Kaman and Cuttino Mobley added 10 points each for the Clippers, who shot 57 percent (39-of-58) from the floor.
Chris Bosh scored 24 points, rookie Charlie Villanueva came off the bench to add 18 and James contributed 16 for the Raptors, who lost for the 10th time in 11 outings despite committing just six turnovers.
"The tough thing is we made too many unforced turnovers," Maggette said. "That really cost us. I told my teammates that I put it on myself with a couple of bungles here and there. But Toronto is a good team. I'm just sorry to see them lose the games they have lost."
Dunleavy was not happy with his team's play in the opening half. Los Angeles was outerbounded 21-14 and allowed the Raptors to shoot nearly 60 percent (22-of-39) from the floor.
"We didn't come out in the first half and do the things we were supposed to do to Toronto," Dunleavy said. "Their outside shooting and offensive rebounding and our turning the ball over 15 times to their six turnovers was our problem. But I have to give our guys credit. They came out in the second half and really played hard."
"It might of looked like we relaxed but we didn't," Brand said. "Coach (Dunleavy) had us ready at the beginning and we weren't trying to relax. They had a lot of offensive fire power. Toronto can really shoot the ball."
Raptors guard Jalen Rose had a frustrating night, making just 1-of-12 from the floor and scoring six points in 33 minutes before he fouled out.
"Guys are trying to help us win ball games," Rose said. "And it is doubly frustrating the way I have been playing. I need to step up and play the way I am capable of playing. I flat out haven't been shooting the ball the way I am capable of. The percentages show it. Obviously, I plan to do what I can to come out of this slump."