The Los Angeles Clippers (10-15) took full advantage of a tired Toronto Raptors (17-8) squad, outlasting them 96-91 at Staples Center to end the team's six-game winning streak. It was the second night of a back-to-back, and the third game in four nights for the Raptors, so their season-low point total of 91 shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Nevertheless, it’s still frustrating, considering they were facing an awful Clippers team.
Eric Smith pointed out on Twitter that this loss was the Raptors first when entering the fourth quarter with a lead. They were 15-0 previously. Another streak was snapped as well, with Toronto failing to reach 100 points or more for the first time in 12 contents.
Jonas Valancinuas was the Raptors most valuable player of the game – yes, you read that correctly – scoring a season-high 23 points and matching his season-high with 15 rebounds. He was excellent in the second half but inexplicably was pulled from the contest in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. I’ll admit, I’ve been fairly critical of Valanciunas’ game in the past, but on this particular night, he made all of his critics eat their words.
Montrezl Harrell was the Clippers strongest offensive weapon with 17 points on an efficient 6/9 shooting night. He landed awkwardly after swatting away a shot in the fourth quarter, but would remain in the game following the brief scare.
DeAndre Jordan was a beast on the glass, as usual, snatching 17 rebounds to go with his 14 points.
Kyle Lowry struggled with his shot all night and was 0 for 8 from 3-point range, but still was relentless in attacking the rim. He converted an and-one opportunity late in the fourth, then drew two free throws when the rest of the offence was in a lull. Unfortunately for the Raps, his efforts wouldn’t be enough to help steal the game away from the Clippers.
C.J. Miles had a solid game off the bench, finishing with 13 points and three 3-pointers. His performance helped carry the bench unit on a night where Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell all struggled.
The Raptors have two days to shake off the loss and get some rest before facing the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.