Game Preview: Raptors at Clippers
Toronto Raptors (17-7) @ Los Angeles Clippers (9-15)
When: Monday, December 11, 10:30 P.M. ET.
Where: Staples Center
Broadcast info: TSN2, TSN1050
The Raptors defeated the Clippers 118-109 at the Air Canada Centre in the last meeting between these two teams in February of last year. It was DeMar DeRozan's return to the court after missing eight games with a sprained ankle, and he led the team with 31 points as Kyle Lowry had 24 points and eight assists. Toronto led throughout, and entered the fourth quarter ahead by 15 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping Toronto to overcome a triple-double from Blake Griffin, who led the Clippers with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Delon Wright (right shoulder) and Lucas Nogueira (right calf) will miss the game for the Raptors. For the Clippers, Blake Griffin (knee), and Patrick Beverley (knee surgery) will be out. Milos Teodosic (foot) is listed as questionable.
Rough start: The Los Angeles Clippers have been hit hard by the injury bug to start the 2017-18 season. In addition to Blake Griffin being sidelined because of a knee injury, starting point guard Patrick Beverley is missing the rest of the season because of knee surgery. The Clippers are still waiting for the return of Milos Teodosic from a foot injury after he was injured in L.A's second game of the season, while Danilo Gallinari just returned from a 13-game absence because of a strained left glute.
Assist game: DeMar DeRozan has led the Raptors in scoring this season, averaging 23.4 points per game, but he's been racking up the assists as well. In Sunday's win against the Sacramento Kings, DeRozan scored a game-high 25 points (on 9-for-15 field goals), while dishing a game-high nine assists, as well. DeRozan had just one turnover in 35 minutes as the backcourt combo of DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 40 points, 15 assists and 15 rebounds.
Ibaka rolling: Serge Ibaka has gotten off to a fantastic start on this four-game trip. After scoring 21 points in a comeback victory against the Memphis Grizzlies, Ibaka followed that up with a 20-point effort against the Kings, shooting 8-for-13, while stretching the floor by making 4-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc. Ibaka played 29 minutes, adding four rebounds and an assist, but it was his active defence around the rim that stood out. In the first two games on this trip, Ibaka has shot 8-for-12 from deep.
12,000 club: DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points against the Sacramento Kings, but it was his first six points of the game that allowed him to reach the 12,000-points-scored club. DeRozan joins Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry as the only other players sine 1998 to reach 12,000+ points scored while staying with a single team their entire career.
Familiar faces: There is a lot of familiarity between these two teams and cities, starting with Clippers guard Lou Williams, who played for the Raptors during the 2014-15 season where he won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. Toronto has three players on its team with ties to Los Angeles, starting with DeMar DeRozan who played at Compton High and then attended USC, Delon Wright, who grew up in Los Angeles, and Norman Powell, from San Diego, who went to UCLA.