The Toronto Raptors entered the Staples Center and walked away with an impressive victory over the Los Angeles Clippers by a score of 110-98. But before we get to the grades, shameless plug upcoming…
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Now on to the grades!
The ball movement from the Raptors was consistently excellent today. Whether off of the dribble or via a series of swings, the orange sphere was finding it’s way to the open man in red. The team had trouble capitalizing at first, missing a lot of good looks during a 22 point first quarter. The second half was a different story. The team shot 55%, compared to 41% in the first half. Kyle Lowry made some great shots during a torrid stretch in the third that put the Raptors up by eight at the time. The hot hand then went to the Venezuelan wonder Greivis Vasquez, who opened the game up with eight points during the early portion of the fourth quarter to break the game wide open. If that stop and pop three pointer in transition didn’t get you hyped up, then why are you on this site? Jonas Valanciunas was able to bang home some open dunks off of well-timed duck-ins to take advantage of the great ball movement.
The Raptors made some very puzzling decisions while protecting their basket. Vasquez left Jamal Crawford wide open a couple of times in the first, which is up there in ways not to win a basketball game. J.J. Redick also found himself wide open on a couple of occasions. However the defense on Chris Paul, and in the fourth quarter, was excellent. The Raptors remain undefeated while holding a team under 100 points.
The Raptors were able to withstand a 20 rebound effort from DeAndre Jordan thanks to the efforts of Valanciunas and Amir Johnson. Val had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Johnson had 12 boards. Strong effort on the glass from the Raptors.
Raptor Cage’s Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
Kloe was absolutely balling tonight. He tore apart Chris Paul, and finished with 25 points and 7 assists. Can you say MVP?