Five Takeaways: Clippers Comeback from 18-Down to Beat Raptors on Road
TORONTO – Lou Williams scored 18 in the fourth quarter as the Clippers (39-34) ended their road trip with a 117-106 win over the Toronto Raptors (54-20).
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ win.
1) New King in the Fourth –
The crowd in Air Canada Centre is unquestionably one of the best in the NBA. And tonight, when the Raptors were inching back in the game, they roared in support of their team. Then Lou Williams happened. The Centre silenced as the lock for Sixth Man of the Year scored 12 straight points for the Clippers late in the fourth, killing any chance Toronto had of winning.
Williams is the NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth and added 18 points tonight in the final frame. He did it against his old team, the team on which he won Sixth Man of the Year in 2015. Williams finished the game with 26 points, a game-high, and a team-high 7 assists.
2) Marjanovic centers run –
After the first three quarters, the two teams were tied at 80-80. At the start of the fourth quarter, over the next 3 minutes and 32 seconds, the Clippers scored 14 unanswered, eventually taking a 96-82 lead. The Raptors offense came up short, shot after shot, as the Clippers defensive success hinged on their 7-foot-3 center, Boban Marjanovic. Once he subbed in, the Raptors’ attack at the rim was nullified, as Marjanovic’s length enabled him to deflect passes, block shots, and simply forced shooters to change their shots, with normal layups becoming awkward, acrobatic attempts. Boban scored 4 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and blocked 1 shot.
3) Lowry and DeRozan held in check –
The Raptors are the top seed in the Eastern Conference, with their two guards leading the way on most nights. Tonight wasn’t one of those nights. The Kyle Lowry-DeMar DeRozan duo went a combined 7-of-21, finishing with 22 points combined. To begin the game, Wesley Johnson guarded DeRozan and Rivers matched up with Lowry, while Sindarius Thornwell, Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams all had chances to guard the two as well.
4) Clippers fall in early hole –
Toronto’s offense cooked early, but not with either of their All-Star guard’s leading the way, instead using center Jonas Valunciunas as the main cog. In the first quarter, he scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with a flurry of finishes near the rim. Once the Clippers adjusted, Valunciunas would shoot the open jump-shot, hitting a three-pointer. The Raptors created an 18-point lead in the frame, while shooting 60 percent from three.
Valunciunas scored only 4 more points the rest of the way, ending the night with 16 points.
5) Harrell effect --
Down big early, 27-9, the Clippers began their rally once their backup center, Montrezl Harrell, checked-in. He scored only 5 points in the quarter, but was a catalyst for the team’s run, even as it spilled into the second half, as the Clippers closed the lead to seven at half. Though Harrell was the catalyst, Tobias Harris was the primary scoring option in the first half, scoring 15, and ending the game with 20. Harrell finished with 19 points in 19 minutes, making 9 of his 12 attempts.
What’s Next? – The Clippers head home to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at 7:30 PDT.