Short-handed Clippers lined by charging Raptors – Press Enterprise

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers scouting report: They’ll always give you a game.

“I know this team is playing really hard, they’re playing really hard,” Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before his team recorded a 103-100 win in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,068 at Arena on Wednesday got away with the Clippers. “They really compete and that’s good, I’m glad, I hope they do, I hope we do.”

Even with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Norman Powell — averaging about 71 points — all benched, injured and dedicated observers, the Clippers gave a streaky Raptors team everything it could take.

Marcus Morris Sr. finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, but he just couldn’t shake Precious Achiuwa, who blocked Morris’ 3-point attempt by 1.3 seconds that would have leveled the score had he been gone .

Reggie Jackson added 23 points and nine assists in the loss and Terance Mann had 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench and Isaiah Hartenstein added 12 points.

For Toronto, Pascal Siakam finished 12-for-18 shooting with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Fred VanVleet added 21 points.

The Raptors (39-30) played the last game of a six-game road trip – of which they’d won four in a row – and took to the streets with a lot of motivation.

Toronto came into play Wednesday in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. The top six teams in each conference are guaranteed to make the playoffs. The seventh through tenth place finishers enter the play-in tournament to decide the seventh and eighth place finishers.

With the eighth seed and a place in a play-in tournament all but cemented, the Clippers’ motivation was more philosophical: Always Better, Always Ready.

“I think we’re mentally focused and they understand we have some things that we need to keep getting better at,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said ahead of the tip. “We have to add some things.”

The first half was mostly Nurse’s pregame reckoning. Twelve lead changes and five draws strengthened him, and an 11-2 run gave his team a 10-point buffer at the break.

The Raptors’ 11-4 sprint immediately after the break gave them another lead, extending a 65-48 lead with 9-42 to play in the third quarter.

The Clippers’ reputation as comeback artists – said Nurse, “You never give up, don’t you?” – remains intact as the hosts flirt with their 13th double-digit comeback of the season.

Tyronn Lue’s side were only 78-74 down at the end of the third quarter, having finished with a furious 9-0 win themselves.

The deficit had dropped to 83-81 after Mann’s 3-pointer at 8:18.

The game of runs then returned towards Toronto as they extended the lead to 93-83.

And then it stumbled back toward LA when Lue won a coach’s challenge that erased an offensive foul on Jackson and sent him on the line for an and-one play that made it 95-93 Raptors.

After four quick points through Toronto, Jackson charged back inside and got a hard reverse layup to fall, reducing the lead to two points – 99-97.

Nicolas Batum sunk a 3-pointer – the Clippers’ third attempt at possession – to put the Clippers even closer at 101-100, after which VanVleet pulled a foul, knocked down the first of two free throws and then saved his own miss to be fouled again.

He came to the line with nine seconds left and hit the first of two again before Batum wrested away the rebound and the Clippers called a timeout with 6.2 seconds remaining.

The Clippers’ fifth loss in seven games dropped them to .500 at 36-36. It was a pit stop in LA between a three-game road trip just completed and a two-game trip to Utah and Denver on Friday and Tuesday.

More about this story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *