Raptors 98, Clippers 93

Pumped up to face Blake Griffin, the Toronto Raptors pulled out

a rare win.

Andrea Bargnani scored 27 points, Ed Davis had 13 points and a

career-high 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Los Angeles

Clippers 98-93 on Sunday night for just their second victory in 18

games.

”You listen to enough people talk about Blake Griffin, I think

it gets our guys fired up to play him and try to stop him,”

Raptors coach Jay Triano said. ”They don’t want to be the

recipient of him dunking on them or making plays on them.”

DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points, Leandro Barbosa had 11 and Sonny

Weems 10 for the Raptors, who sold out their first home game since

Jan. 2 against Boston.

”I wish we could play a big game every night,” DeRozan said.

”It seems like every time we play a team with a superstar and a

lot of hype around it, we definitely step up, and we did

tonight.”

Jose Calderon had 10 points and 11 assists as Toronto won its

fifth straight over the Clippers.

Griffin had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Baron Davis scored 20

points as Los Angeles lost for the sixth time in seven games. Brian

Cook scored a season-high 17 points and Ryan Gomes had 14 for the

Clippers, who lost their second straight to a slumping Eastern

Conference opponent.

Los Angeles lost 126-119 in overtime at Cleveland on Friday, a

game that snapped the Cavaliers’ NBA-record 26-game losing

streak.

”Everyone talks about these other teams,” Clippers coach Vinny

Del Negro said. ”We aren’t exactly road warriors here.”

The Clippers are 4-20 away from home, tied with the Timberwolves

for the fewest road wins in the West. They’re 1-5 on their current

trip with games at Milwaukee and Minnesota still to play.

Griffin said the Clippers’ current skid is ”a little bit

tougher” than their 1-13 start to the season.

”Either one is tough,” he said. ”It’s tough to lose games,

period, no matter what part of the year it is or how many games

you’ve won before that.”

The biggest problem, Griffin said, is injuries to guard Eric

Gordon, center Chris Kaman and forward Craig Smith.

”Missing Eric Gordon is huge for us,” Griffin said. ”He’s our

leading scorer. Having him out kind of shrinks the court a little

bit. We’ll be glad to have him back.”

Gordon, out since Jan. 22 with a sprained right wrist, is not

with the team on this trip. He’s rehabbing back in Los Angeles and

could return following the All-Star break.

Toronto led 85-77 on a running jumper by DeRozan with 8:31 left,

but the Clippers closed the gap with an 8-2 run over the next 4:20,

capped by a dunk by Griffin with 4:11 remaining that cut the

Raptors’ lead to 87-85.

Bargnani gave Toronto some breathing room with a three-point

play, banking in a jump shot as he was fouled by DeAndre Jordan.

After Jordan made one of two at the line, Bargnani hit a pair of

free throws at the other end, putting the Raptors up 92-86 with

3:17 to go.

Bargnani made a long jumper with 1:01 remaining, giving the

Raptors a 96-89 edge. The first overall pick in the 2006 draft,

Bargnani has topped 20 points in five straight games and is

averaging 27.6 over that span.

”He’s a tough cover because of his size and ability to put it

on the ground,” Del Negro said.

Amir Johnson returned to Toronto’s lineup after sitting out

Friday’s loss to Portland with a sprained right ankle, the only

game he’s missed this season. Johnson, who had played 135

consecutive games, finished with six points in 14 minutes.

DeRozan scored 10 points in the first but Griffin had the

highlight play, throwing down an alley-oop pass from Davis, one of

his two dunks in the opening quarter. The score was tied at 24

after one.

Davis scored 12 points in the second, but Jordan missed two free

throws in the final second of the half, and the teams went into the

break tied at 48.

Bargnani had nine points in the third, including a 3-pointer and

a driving layup in the final 2 minutes, as the Raptors took a 78-71

lead into the fourth.

Notes: Toronto also sold out a Dec. 19 game against the Lakers.

… Davis’ previous career-high in rebounds was 13, set Friday. He

played a career-high 36 minutes … Griffin was cheered loudly

during pregame introductions. … This was Toronto’s 500th

regular-season game at Air Canada Centre. Their first was a 102-87

win over Vancouver on Feb. 21, 1999.