Five Takeaways: Griffin’s Offensive Magic Not Enough In Loss To Toronto
TORONTO – The Clippers (31-21) dropped their third straight game Monday night, as Blake Griffin’s first triple-double since 2014 wasn’t enough to counter Toronto’s (32-21) backcourt attack.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 118-109 loss.
Quote of the Night: “There’s a lot of good happening, but we just can’t win games right now. We’ve got to find a way to win games.” – Head coach Doc Rivers
1) Blake Griffin provides the offense, snagging triple-double – The good Rivers referred to begins with Blake Griffin, who continues to carry the load offensively, picking up his first triple-double of the season and the fifth of his career. Griffin finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists giving him his first triple-double since April 2014. Griffin already had the triple-double before the start of the fourth quarter, ending the first half with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. It’s Griffin’s fifth straight game with at least 20 points.
2) Hot start doesn’t last long – The Clippers trailed by double digits in the first quarter in each of their last two games entering Monday night, but head coach Doc Rivers said before the game he didn’t think the starts to games were a problem until then, nor did he seem concerned.
The Clippers responded early in Toronto, as Austin Rivers hit the first shot of the game and suddenly a 5-0 Clippers lead became a 17-6 advantage. But that didn’t last long, as the Raptors outscored the Clippers by 15 points the rest of the quarter as the Clippers’ lead melted. Suddenly, the Clippers found themselves in catchup mode again against a Raptors attack they couldn’t stop.
3) Foul trouble hurts, Jordan sits early – The Raptors’ first-quarter run didn’t get going until DeAndre Jordan went to the bench. The Clippers led by as many as 11, but with the Clippers holding a 15-6 lead, Jordan picked up his second foul and had to sit the rest of the quarter. It took fewer than four minutes for the Raptors to score their next 16 points. The Clippers allowed six points their first four minutes of the first quarter with Jordan in the game, then 29 the final eight minutes of the quarter.
In the first half, Jordan was forced to play just seven minutes, finishing the half with no points, four rebounds and three fouls. He finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, but foul issues were a problem for the entire Clippers team Wednesday, as the Raptors went 26-for-29 from the line.
4) Defensive woes continue – Following their seven-game winning streak, the Clippers’ defensive rating dropped to the worst in the NBA their next nine games, and there were struggles on that end again early in Toronto, allowing 35 points in both the first and second quarters. DeMar DeRozan’s ability to attack caused problems, as DeRozan finished 11-for-22 from the floor with a game-high 31 points, and the Raptors finished 48.8 percent from the field, shooting above 50 percent for much of the night. It’s the fourth time in the last six games the Clippers have allowed a team to shoot better than 48 percent.
5) Crawford reaches multiple milestones – Jamal Crawford reached a handful of milestones, as he came off the bench for 14 points, trailing only Marreese Speights’ 15 points for the most for a Clippers reserve. Crawford became just the sixth player all-time to reach 2,000 career 3-pointers, he passed Eddie Johnson for No. 2 on the all-time bench scoring leaderboard and he moved into No. 74 all-time in scoring, passing Magic Johnson.
What’s Next? – The Clippers continue the East Coast road trip Wednesday against the Knicks.