The Raptors were at the Staples Center last night, fortunately not playing the Lakers, but rather the Clippers. Since the game was on the west coast, tip-off didn't start until 10:30 eastern time.
The Raptors came out flat as a board. The Clippers shot 75% in the first quarter and had a commanding 34-17 lead. Against the Clippers?
Then I fell asleep on the couch. Big mistake.
The Raptors began to chip away at the lead, and even cut the lead to single digits at half. The Clippers saw their 17 point lead drop to 9 at halftime.
From there on out, the Raptors were in the drivers seat. The game was tied at the end of 3, then then the floodgates opened. The Raptors outscored the Clippers by 15 in the 4th, thanks to a 16-0 run to end the game. Wow. What a comeback. Raptors won 104-89. The Clippers' biggest lead was 22, setting a franchise record for the largest deficit to earn a win by the Raptors.
After dropping 34 in the 1st quarter, the Clippers only managed to score 18.3 points over the next 3 quarters. The Raptors defense finally decided to wake up, and slowly began to chip away offensively from there.
Marco Belinelli played 28 minutes off the bench to provide some much needed scoring for the Raptors. He loomed large in the second quarter, where he scored his nine of his 15 points to help cut down the big lead. Belinelli also hit two crucial three-pointers in the fourth quarter, pulling Toronto to within a point at 83-84 with nine minute to play and then building a seven-point advantage at 96-89 with 3:10 remaining. Thanks again for that bench, Mr. Colangelo. It's games like these where it really pays off.
Chris Bosh had another monster game, pouring in 21 points and 14 rebounds. His streak of 7 games of having 25+ points came to an end. Jose Calderon, whose impressed me the past few games, had 18 points and 8 assists.
All in all, I loved the effort of the Raptors. While I didn't see the 80% of the game, I was certainly happy to see I got a text message at 1:00am, updating me that the Raptors won. The early holes the Raptors have dug against Chicago and LA have been discouraging, but the team's ability to respond in the past two fourth quarters has been promising.
But if the Raptors want to beat the Suns tomorrow, they'll have to play a full 48 minutes. Taking the 1st quarter off against the Suns and Nuggets won't cut it. These west coast teams are far too good. But hopefully, this big win will boost the Raptors' confidence.
I guess Friday the 13th is a bad luck day after all.