Cassell Comes Up Big In Win Against Raptors
L.A. Clippers 115, Toronto 113 (OT)
TORONTO, Feb. 5 (Ticker) -- Chris Bosh carried the Toronto Raptors to the brink of their fourth consecutive win. But instead, Sam Cassell brought home a memorable triumph for the Los Angeles Clippers franchise.
Cassell connected on a 3-pointer in the waning seconds to force overtime and scored six points in the extra session as the Clippers posted a 115-113 win over the Raptors to go 11 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history.
"It means a lot, every step we take," Clippers forward Elton Brand said. "The first time we were 5-0, the first time we had a winning January and now this, we take a lot of pride in it."
Cassell finished with 27 points and 13 assists and Brand added 30 points to offset a monster performance by Bosh, who had 29 points and 16 rebounds but missed a wide-open jumper from just beyond the foul line at the buzzer that would have forced a second overtime.
The Raptors appeared to be heading for a win in regulation after Bosh converted two free throws for a two-point lead after being fouled on a baseline dunk attempt with 21 seconds left.
Teammate Charlie Villanueva split a pair from the stripe with seven seconds to go, but after a timeout moved the ball to midcourt, Cassell drained a straightaway 3-pointer on a perfectly executed inbounds play with just under five seconds left. Mike James could not convert a drive at the buzzer for Toronto.
"I tried to get Sam an open look because I know if he gets an open look late in the game he is going to knock it down," said Brand, who set a screen on James to free up Cassell for the game-tying shot.
"Sam was terrific and he made the big shots again. It's an unbelievable knack that he has," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. said.
Cassell scored two quick baskets in overtime, but a pair of 3-pointers by James and another by Morris Peterson gave Toronto a 110-107 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left.
The Clippers tied the game on a three-point play by Quinton Ross with just under two minutes left and Chris Kaman converted a hook shot with 40 seconds to play and Cassell followed with two free throws 15 seconds later for a 114-110 edge.
"This game shows that we're becoming a good basketball team because we could have let this game get away from us," Cassell said. "But Elton and myself were not going to let a team that we are supposed to beat, beat us."
Bosh then struck with a three-point play and, after Brand split two free throws with 10 seconds left, James drove the middle and kicked back to Bosh for the potential game-tying shot that hit off the back of the iron.
"That's been a pretty consistent shot for me. I got a good look at the basket and it felt good but I didn't get the result," Bosh said.
Kaman had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has won eight of its last nine.
"We didn't start very well but we fought hard and were able to get it to overtime and pull out the win," Kaman said.
Peterson scored 25 points and James added 20 as Toronto fell to 11-9 since a 6-22 start.
"We played well enough to win but their veteran guys, Sam and Elton kept making big shots," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.