FINAL | February 1, 2013 | Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Clippers

17

13

15

28

73

LOGO

22

24

26

26

98

 

ERIC PATTEN  

TORONTO–Blake Griffin made one of his two free throw attempts midway through the second quarter, bringing the Clippers to within a point of the lead against the Raptors at Air Canada Centre.

That was the last time the Clippers felt close.

They shot a season-worst 34.7% from the field en route to a 98-73 loss to Toronto Friday night in Rudy Gay’s debut with his new team.


“We didn’t execute very well,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We didn’t shoot it very well. We struggled in a lot of areas and the bottom line is we got outworked.”

Already without their starting backcourt of Chris Paul (knee) and Chauncey Billups (foot), the Clippers (34-14) were also missing Matt Barnes in game two of their season-long eight-game road trip. Barnes was suspended by the league for one game following an altercation with Minnesota’s Greg Stiemsma in Wednesday’s victory.

In that game, the Clippers rallied from an 11-point second-quarter deficit, but Friday had a much different feel. The Raptors (17-30) rode a rowdy crowd in downtown Toronto to a 17-2 run to close the first half. Gay, who was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, did not score in the stretch, but finished with 20 points in 33 minutes off the bench.

“I think we have to be tougher during the tough times in the game and play with an edge more,” Del Negro added.  

So it went for most of the night for the Clippers, who scored a season-low 73 points, their fewest since 2009, and suffered their worst margin of defeat of the year. 

Moment of Truth: Griffin made 1-of-2 free throws to pull the Clippers to within 29-28 midway through the second quarter. From there, they scored just 17 points in the next 16:20. Meanwhile, the Raptors blew the game open, closing the first half on a 17-2 run and piling on in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers, 26-15.

“[In] the second quarter they jumped on us and got a lead,” Del Negro said. “We took too many jump shots. We had some guys out and we had to kind of play some guys some extra minutes. Our rotations are a little bit different, the lineups out there are little different.”

“As poor as we were in the first half offensively, we were kind of right there,” Grant Hill said. “The last four minutes of the second it kind of got away from us and we’re down 16. We just have to learn from it.”

Difference Maker: Toronto’s front line. The Clippers entered the night averaging 46.6 points per game in the paint, second in the league. But Raptors big men Aaron Gray and Amir Johnson combined for 26 points and 28 rebounds and did a more than serviceable job on Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers managed just 30 points inside on 15-of-32 shooting.  

Stat Line of the Night: Rudy Gay. The newly acquired swingman, who until Friday morning was unsure if he would debut with Toronto, converted two alley-oops after entering the game and after shooting an air ball on his first shot from long distance went 3-of-6 from 3-point range in the game. He checked in with 5:10 left in the first quarter to a large ovation from the crowd following a highlight package on the video board that welcomed the former Grizzlies star to the Raptors. He finished with 20 points and three rebounds.

“[The Raptors] were hyped. The fans were hyped,” Willie Green said. “A big transaction, to get Rudy Gay, is big for their franchise. And they were all excited and pumped up and we didn’t do a good job of responding to their energy. I mean, we didn’t play well at all.”

More Stats: 

Griffin. For a while, even early in the fourth quarter with the Clippers down by 21, it appeared Griffin was going to impose his will on the game. He scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, but it was for naught. He finished with a team-high 17 points, but needed 11 shots to do it. He made nine of his 12 free throws and added nine rebounds. Del Negro pulled Griffin, who played 34 minutes, with more than 8:50 remaining to help keep the All-Star forward fresh for Sunday afternoon’s game in Boston.

Jordan. After his sixth double-double two nights ago, Jordan looked on his way to No. 7. He had six points (4-for-6 shooting) and five rebounds in the first quarter, but tailed off afterwards. He finished with eight points, nine boards and a blocked shot. He was the only Clippers starter to shoot better than 36% from the floor.

DeMar DeRozan. The energetic guard helped the Raptors get out in transition early on, capitalizing on 15 Clippers miscues that led to 14 fast-break points. DeRozan had seven assists, including an alley-oop to Gay on the break from nearly 30 feet away, and scored 19 points.

Hot: John Lucas. The reserve guard followed up a season-high 19 points with 17 in reserve of Kyle Lowry. He went 5-of-7 from 3-point range, including four in the fourth quarter that seemingly buried any miniscule chance the Clippers may have had at a comeback.

Not: The Clippers in the first half. They scored 30 points, one shy of their season-low for a half, and shot 28.9% (11-for-38) with Bledsoe, Crawford and Butler missing 18 of their 20 attempts. The team scored five points over the final 5:09 of the second quarter and did not make a field goal in that span. Compounding matters, they committed eight turnovers, leading to a dozen points for Toronto.

Quotables:

On Barnes’ absence:

Del Negro: “It doesn’t help. Matt’s been a big part of our team this whole season and we’ll get him back next game. It’s unfortunate, but we need all the guys now to manage what we’re going through.”

On the game:

Hill: “For whatever reason, that first half we just came out flat. Toronto had energy. They played well. Rudy [Gay] came in and gave them a big spark.”

Griffin: “We just came out with poor energy. We were in it for a while then missed some shots and we didn’t get stops. When you miss shots and don’t get stops it makes it extremely tough. They played well, they played extremely well.  We have to do a better job.”

On the fan reaction to when he was introduced:

Gay: “It felt great to be accepted like I did today. It makes you want to go out and play harder. Fans don’t really understand how much their participation and coming out to support us means to us.”

Notes: The franchise-low for points in a game is 63, reached when the 1972-73 Buffalo Braves lost 91-63 to Milwaukee… The Clippers have not won in Toronto since 2008, a stretch of four-straight losses… The previous low field goal percentage for a half was 30.3% at Brooklyn on Nov. 23… The Clippers were out-rebounded, 45-37… The Raptors were 12-of-26 from 3-point range, marking the fourth time in the last seven games the Clippers have allowed an opponent to make at least 10 3-pointers… The Clippers are 5-4 in the nine games Paul has missed this season. Seven of those games have come on the road, where the Clippers are 4-3.


 
LOOKING AHEAD:
 
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4

10:00 AM
BOSTON 
CELTICS

4:00 PM
WASHINGTON WIZARDS