The Toronto Raptors are coming off a 102-91 win on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers thanks in part to Kyle Lowry’s 25 points and a spin move late in the fourth quarter by DeMar DeRozan. Toronto will look to carry on that momentum as they take on the Los Angeles Clippers to conclude their five-game road trip.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, Jonas Valanciunas will miss 6 weeks with a fractured hand that he injured in the second quarter on Friday night’s win. This is a huge blow to the Raptors as they will have to drastically change things up, rotation wise. Toronto has lost six of their last 9 games after starting off the season 5-0 for the first time in franchise history. The Clippers on the other hand, have also struggled losing six of their last eight after beginning the season with a 4-0 record.
Raptors Cage’s Keys To The Games:
The Raptors have struggled to start off games and have naturally clawed their way back, being (+4.9) in the third quarter margin, ranking first in the NBA. The Raptors are currently a (-2.2) in the first quarter margin while the Clippers are a (+1.2) and (+4.3) in their last three games. A slow start against a championship calibre team as the Clippers, will get the Raptors sunk quickly.
Get to the line
The Clippers have committed about 24 fouls per game in their last three contests so why not make it harder for them defensively. DeRozan is arguably one of the best in the league at getting to the free throw line, ranking third thus far this season, attempting 8.9 a game. DeRozan should be able to attack the rim with ease or pump-fake his way to the line.
Toronto’s defence has kept them into most games this season allowing 97.6 points per game, which ranks them eighth in the NBA. The key is to not allow the Clippers big men to dominate in the paint. Main focus for Dwane Casey’s coaching staff should be to contain Blake Griffin, as he’s been unstoppable when taking on the Raptors.
X-Factor: Kyle Lowry
As seen before, if Kyle Lowry struggles, the Raptors struggle. The Raptors will need more of Lowry’s strong performance from Friday as they take on the Clippers who are coming off of a loss on Friday, trying not to drop three straight.