Clippers 102, Raptors 83By Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Dec 9, 2012 6:40 PM EST
LOS ANGELES -- It may have taken a bit longer than expected, but two teams going in opposite directions finally separated themselves late in the game on Sunday afternoon. And predictably, it was the scorching Los Angeles Clippers who pulled away from the slumping Toronto Raptors late in the fourth quarter of their 102-83 win at Staples Center. Los Angeles blitzed Toronto with a 21-4 run to close the fourth quarter, holding the Raptors to one point during a six-minute stretch, as the Clippers' reserves barely gave Toronto room to breathe. That the Raptors, losers of four straight, were even in the game early in the fourth quarter was a surprise. That the Clippers, winners of six straight, finally turned on the jets was not. Los Angeles, which had 63 first-half points in a 117-99 home win over Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, shot just 35.6 percent from the field in the first two quarters on Sunday. Toronto even took a 47-44 lead into halftime after an 11-0 run to close the second quarter, but Los Angeles proved too big, too strong and too balanced down the stretch. The Clippers outscored the Raptors 58-36 in the second half, holding Toronto to just 33.3 percent shooting. Blake Griffin had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead Los Angeles, which bounced back to shoot 59 percent in the second half (20 of 34). Chris Paul added 16 points but only four assists for the Clippers, and Jamal Crawford added 16 points off the bench. Eric Bledsoe had 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench on his 23rd birthday for Los Angeles. USC product DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 24 points to lead Toronto, but finished with a negative-18 plus/minus rating. Linas Kleiza added 17 points for the Raptors, but starters Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas combined for just five. NOTES: Chauncey Billups (foot), Grant Hill (knee) and Trey Thompkins (knee) all missed the game for Los Angeles. Alan Anderson (foot) and Landry Fields (elbow) did not play for the Raptors. ... The Clippers may not be able to solve the Raptors on the road as they've lost three straight in Toronto, but Sunday's win over Toronto was the Clippers' third straight over the Raptors at Staples Center, including a 103-91 win in late January last season. ... The game marked a matchup between two efficient guards as both Paul (4.14, 2nd) and Jose Calderon (3.54, 5th) rank in the top five in the NBA assist-to-turnover ratio.
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