Despite injuries and other problems, the Toronto Raptors look like a team that’s going places, led by Kyle Lowry in another terrific performance from the point guard, outplaying Chris Paul in a 110-98 win on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors scored 61 points in the second half and enjoyed some hot shooting in the fourth quarter to pick up a big road win, something we don’t usually see from East teams when playing against Western playoff teams. Lowry scored a game-high 25 points that went well with 7 assists and 3 steals, doing a very good job in making Chris Paul look bad. Paul scored just 10 points on 3-of-12 from the field, adding to the confused look the Clippers had and tend to have too many times.
The presence of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin should make teams feel at least a bit of deterrent when attacking the paint, but Toronto had no problem putting up 40 points (compared to just 28 by the Clippers) and get a big night from Jonas Valanciunas, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, including five on offense. Greivis Vasquez had some excellent minutes off the bench with 16 points and six assists, helped by Patrick Patterson and his hot hand scoring 10 points.
But the Clippers are a mess. Doc Rivers might be a well liked and respected head coach but he isn’t bringing out anything special from this group, and it might be that being a general manager and a coach is slightly hurting his abilities to make great decisions. The defense looks disoriented too many times and despite the impressive gallery of names on the bench, sometimes it feels that except for Jamal Crawford, no one is actually contributing anything to the game.