Clippers looking for revenge in trip to Toronto
The Los Angeles Clippers will be out to avenge a 123-99 loss on Dec. 11 when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon.
The Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard, who had a bruised hip for that game, and yet they dominated the Clippers in Los Angeles, with Serge Ibaka scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Toronto has cooled off somewhat since then, completing a 10-5 January with a 105-92 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
"We're in February," Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said. "We're starting to get to that point where we need to be. We know exactly what we're doing. We're adding things now. We've got to get better, quicker. We don't have the whole year. We've got a couple months. We've got to make sure that we kind of know exactly what we want to do and continue to work on that. Every chance we have to practice and watch film, it's a positive."
The Clippers finished January at 7-9 after losing their final two games of the month, including a 123-120 overtime defeat Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Clippers visited the Detroit Pistons on Saturday and earned a 111-101 win despite trailing by 18 points after the first quarter and by 25 during the second quarter.
Lou Williams scored 39 points -- 18 in the fourth quarter -- for the Clippers against the Pistons.
"This is great. As good as it gets for us. Our guys hung in there and kept fighting," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Los Angeles is 4-5 in the second half of back-to-back games.
The game Saturday was the opener of a six-game trip for the Clippers, who hope to welcome back 6-foot-10 forward Danilo Gallinari during that span. Gallinari has missed nine games because of back spasms; the Clippers are 5-4 without him.
"We're throwing out a lot of matchups," said Montrezl Harrell. "It's definitely hurting us when guys are a little bigger at the 3, 4, 5 positions and we got smaller guards on them. We definitely miss (Gallinari), but we can't really blame it on anything, we've got to keep moving forward. Every team deals with injuries, so hey, it's just the way it is."
The Raptors were off to a 20-4 start to the season but have won just 17 of their past 29 games.
The loss to the Bucks ended a 10-game home winning streak by the Raptors. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors against the Bucks with 28 points while Leonard was held to 16 points and eight rebounds. It ended Leonard's career-best streak of 22 consecutive games (Nov. 29-Jan. 27) with at least 20 points scored.
Toronto fans will have a chance to see Clippers rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is from nearby Hamilton, Ontario.
"He's a special player, he's a special kid," Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet said after practice Saturday. "He's really good. He's had a great year and they obviously believe in him. He's been in a starting role most of the year, almost all of the year and that experience he is getting is invaluable. It's going to make him a heck of a player down the line."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 3, 2019