Busy Clippers conclude homestand vs. Raptors
LOS ANGELES — There is little time for the weary Los Angeles Clippers to rest.
Before they embark on a six-game road trip, the Clippers host the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
The Clippers (12-2), who hold the NBA's best record and have captured wins in nine of their past 10 games, own a 6-0 mark away from Staples Center. They are 6-2 at home.
Los Angeles begins an 11-day journey Wednesday at Dallas. The Clippers also visit the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets before returning home for a Dec. 4 date against the Pacers.
Despite their unbeaten run on the road, it is taking a bit of a toll.
“It just catches up to you at times,” said reserve guard Jamal Crawford, according to the Los Angeles Times. “At times when you see some slippage, you kind of know where it's coming from. Sometimes it's practice and sometimes it's just the fatigue. It's a lot of games. I think we played like 13 games in like 20, 21 days. That's a lot. That's crazy. We will be going six weeks without back-to-back days off.”
First, the Clippers face a Raptors squad that will be playing its second game in as many nights.
Toronto, which is in the midst of a five-game swing, is 4-2 on the road. The Raptors (8-5) dropped a 102-99 decision to the Kings on Sunday night in Sacramento in a controversial finish when a score-tying shot by Terrence Ross was waved off by the officials after a review.
The refs ruled that a tip on the preceding inbounds pass should have started the clock sooner.
“I knew I had at least two seconds,” Ross said. “I knew I could take a dribble and still get it off. I don't know how a tipped ball can amount for a five- or six-tenths of a second. … Nothing can justify it. It's just a bad call.”
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 25 points and six assists in a losing effort. Jonas Valanciunas added 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Toronto is the NBA's eighth-best club on offense, averaging 107.5 points and giving up 104.3 (16th). DeMar DeRozan, who is off to an outstanding start, averaging 33 points per game before Sunday, was held to a season-low 12 points against the Kings.
It was the first time all season DeRozan, a Los Angeles native, failed to score at least 23 points in a game. In 10 of the team's 13 games, DeRozan delivered at least 30 points.
The Raptors swept last season's two meetings, posting double-digit wins in both contests.
Los Angeles is coming off a 102-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Clippers rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit behind the play of Blake Griffin, who finished with 29 points, including a highlight-reel dunk over Robin Lopez, and 13 rebounds.
Griffin is the Clippers' leading scorer at 21.6 points per game. Chris Paul is averaging 17.9 points and a league-high three steals a game.
Defense remains the Clippers' strength so far. They are second in the NBA behind the Utah Jazz in points allowed at 95.4 per game. With their offense producing 109.1 points (tied for third), the Clippers' differential of plus-13.7 points per game is tops in the league.