Gameday Report: Clippers end road trip in Toronto
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The Clippers (38-34) will end a four-game road trip on Sunday, when they take on the East’s top team, the Toronto Raptors (54-19).
The two teams have faced off once this season, with LA defeating the Raptors, 96-91, on Dec. 11 at STAPLES Center.
Here’s what to look out for in Sunday’s matchup:
Can LA repeat? –
When these two teams met in December, the Clippers had one of their best defensive performances of the season. In fact, it was one of the Clippers’ best wins of the year.
LA held the Raptors, who hold the NBA's third-best record, to 91 points, their third-lowest total of the season. Toronto will enter tomorrow's game averaging 112.2 points per game on the year.
After trailing 74-70 headed into the fourth quarter, the Clippers outscored Toronto 26-17 in the final frame to earn the win.
More impressively, the Clippers did it without former forward Blake Griffin, who was sidelined due to injury.
The Clippers also limited Toronto to 40 percent shooting from the field and 24 percent shooting from three, well under their season averages of 47 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Despite Friday’s loss to Indiana, the Clippers have found great success against the Eastern Conference as of late. LA is 8-1 in its last nine games against the East, and will look to continue its strong play against the opposing coast on Sunday.
Now or never –
Despite setbacks this season, the Clippers remain competitive in the Western Conference playoff race because of their young and talented core.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) March 22, 2018
Get an inside look with the newest episode of [UN]CLIPPED. #NextManUp
With Friday’s loss, the Clippers are now 2.5 games out of the eighth spot in the West with 10 games left in the regular season.
In short, LA will have to play with a sense of desperation over the final three weeks of the season if it hopes to make it to the postseason this year.
The Clippers could also use a little bit of help from the teams above them in the standings, particularly, the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz and the seventh-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.
Utah has nine games left and holds a record of 10-5 against its final seven opponents. The Jazz have also won 10 of their last 12.
Minnesota, which currently sits 3 games ahead of the Clippers, has eight games left in the regular season. The Wolves are 10-3 against their final six opponents.
Sunday’s game will tip-off at 3 p.m. PDT.