For a third consecutive game the Raptors found themselves in a fourth-quarter battle, but even though the Clippers threatened to seize the late in the dying minutes -- Toronto held firm to snap their three-game losing streak.
After a Blake Griffin dunk cut Toronto's lead to 87-85 with 4:09 to go, Andrea Bargnani responded with a huge-three point play after being fouled by DeAndre Jordan on a long jumper. The Clippers would inch closer with free throws and another Griffin slam, but couldn't make it a one-possession game the rest of the way.
It wasn't the most efficient night from the floor for Andrea Bargnani (9-21 FGM-A), but he was big in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win with nine of his game-high 27 points.
His 'and 1' mentioned earlier kept the Clippers at bay and he added four more points from there to give his team a much-needed confidence boost in terms of closing one out. Also impressive was his nine trips to the free throw line -- up from his season average of 4.9 per game and his highest total since Jan. 14 vs. the Pistons
Ed Davis versus Blake Griffin wasn't top billing heading into this game, but early foul trouble for Amir Johnson set the stage for a fascinating rookie duel that saw Davis set career-highs. Davis scored 13 points, hauled in a new career-best 14 rebounds (six offensive) for his fifth double-double of the year, plus played some pretty staunch defence that included a game-high three blocks. All in a career-high 36 minutes.
"He stayed poised," said DeMar DeRozan post-game. "He didn't get rattled or anything. He was out there playing like he wasn't a rookie, like he played in a game like that before.
"Absolutely, I think we listen to enough people talk about Blake Griffin and stuff like that. I think it gets our guys fired up to play and to try and stop them and I don’t think they want to be the recipient of him dunking on them or making plays on them, so our guys were very focused and very into making him work for everything he had."
- Jay Triano, on taking up the challenge of guarding Griffin
Wed., Feb. 16 vs. Heat
7:00 PM ET, TSN2, FAN590
What better way to end the unofficial first half of the Raptors' season than a visit from former franchise player Chris Bosh and the Heat. This is Bosh's first return to ACC after spending his first seven seasons in Toronto. The Raps have dropped the first two meetings of the season, which both took place in Miami.
|500||Regular season games at ACC. The Raps are now 268-232 all-time there.|
|5||Consecutive victories over the Clippers|
|5||Outings with 10+ assists for Jose Calderon in his last six games|
|14-9||Offensive rebounding edge for the Raptors|
|6||Consecutive games that DeMar DeRozan has scored at least 16 points|
|"I think more just taking him out of his comfort zone. I tried to force him out and send him to his left hand and get him to do some things he doesn’t like to do."|
- Ed Davis on defending Blake Griffin
|"He’s a young kid, getting his feet wet a little bit. He was a factor tonight that’s for sure."|
- Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro on the play of Ed Davis
|"A lot of times we are just playing against good teams and couldn’t finish but today we made shots at the end, played good defense and got some stops."|
- Jose Calderon, on the effort