DeRozan did produce a basket on a driving layup in transition.
He didn't see the floor again until the beginning of the third quarter. On his first attempt from the field, he heaved an air ball.
But by then, the Raptors were much more competitive.
"He was pumped up for this game," Triano said of his rookie. "It was one of those learning experiences. He'll never be back here again for the first time. He'll be back here again and he'll feel more comfortable."
The Clippers completely abandoned their mindset after the opening quarter, going from a team that took advantage of Toronto's woeful defence in the paint to a team that hoisted ill-advised jumpers early in the shot clock.
The Clippers made 15 of 20 first-quarter shots and outscored their northern visitors 20-10 in the paint to jump out to 34-17 advantage after the opening 12 minutes.
The Clippers led by as many as 22 points in the second quarter.
It was at the Staples Center where DeRozan led USC to last season's Pac-10 tournament title.
He would win tournament MVP honours and opened many eyes in the NBA.
"There are some good memories of this place,'' DeRozan said as he looked around the empty building long before he and his Raptors teammates were to take to the floor against the Clippers.
"It feels like it's been a while since I played here."
When the Raptors arrived in L.A. on Thursday, DeRozan took advantage of the opportunity to visit with his family.
One of the unwritten rules of thumb in the NBA is to avoid playing in one's hometown because of the many off-court issues that surface.
Returning home as an opponent is an entirely different animal, a time many players express excitement and anticipation.
The first trip is often the most nerve-wracking.
As for tickets, all requests went through DeRozan's parents.
"I think they're more excited than me,'' DeRozan said.
The coach was happy, but not amused.
"I have no idea," he said. "We said we wanted to come out with three straight stops (in the first quarter) and we did and then they scored 15 straight (possessions) almost in the first quarter.
"I have no idea, I have no answers. Our coverages are where they're supposed to be.
"It's not a real high-energy group, but we find the energy as the game goes on, our offence starts to flow and we buy in at the defensive end."
Having watched his play progress and seeing him night in and night out with that unfazed calm demeanour which exudes professionalism, I wait with unbearable anticipation to see him let off that yell and show a bit of emotion after hitting a three at the end of a game to seal the deal as he did tonight against the Clippers in a 22 point come from behind win.
The addition of another Italian, Marco Bellinelli, who’s been bringing it at both ends of the court while coming off the bench, has been another boost seemingly for Bargnani and the team.
The Raptors are truly a mirror image and immaculate representation of the city of Toronto with its multicultural diverse blends.
# When Chris Bosh was held without a field goal in the first quarter, there was a brief feeling of "Maybe Camby's got his number tonight." But deep down, you knew it wouldn't last. Bosh finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists.
# Jose Calderon, who has been having a bit of an off-year, was magnificent in the second half. He scored nine straight Raptors points in the third to single-handedly take the lead. Marco Belinelli can play some two.
The opening 15 minutes of basketball plays out beautifully for the Clippers, exactly how you’d construct a best case scenario against Toronto. Marcus Camby uses his agility and length to stay between Chris Bosh and the basket. Chris Kaman bullies Andrea Bargnani down on the block, getting plenty of space for his step-back jumper. Baron Davis finds seams in a defense that’s been both slow to fight through screens and flabby in the interior once the offense has broken the plane. Al Thornton works close to the basket to get high-percentage looks. And the Clippers perimeter defenders chase the Raptors’ snipers off the line.
Check out the Raptors' big comeback win over the Clippers, all in just six minutes!
The Raptors head coach speaks with the media following a big comeback win over the Clippers.
Antoine Wright speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Clippers.
Chris Bosh speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Clippers.
Jose Calderon speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Clippers.
The Raptors centre speaks with the media following his 19-point performance against the Clippers.
Marco Belinelli speaks with the media following his 15-point performance against the Clippers on Friday.
This time, the meltdown came early, not late. The Clippers had a 22-point lead dwindle to nine by the end of the first half, and vanish by the start of the fourth quarter.
Which turned the final 12 minutes into a genuine cliff-hanger.
Not quite all of it. The Clippers didn't score in the final 6:58, as the Raptors won, 104-89, Friday night at Staples Center.
Incredibly, the Clippers missed their final 11 shots.
Lets face it, when your team is facing one of the worst defensive teams in the league, it is difficult to get pumped up to watch. And when your team gets up 44-22, in some cases, it is usually best to just get on with your night. Take a shower, spend quality time with a loved one, go meet the friends a little earlier than usual – but there's no such thing as a gimme in Clipper Nation.
The Raptors outscored the Clippers 30-15 in the forth quarter to take away a 104-89 win. Jose Calderon, Toronto's point guard was an absolute baller, scoring 18 points, amassing eight assists (zero turnovers). He hammered nail after nail into the Clippers coffin in the final quarter.
Usually when a team rallies from a deficit of 20 or more points, it spends so much energy getting back into the game that it has nothing left for the finish. The Toronto Raptors didn't encounter that problem at all.
After erasing a 22-point second-quarter deficit to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Raptors made four 3-point shots during a game-ending 16-0 run and ran away with a 104-89 victory on Friday.
Chris Bosh had 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Toronto begin a four-game road trip on the right foot.
"We really needed this game. We've got a tough road trip, so it was important to start it in a good way," center Andrea Bargnani said. "We started the game very bad and they went up 20 points, but after halftime our defense was much better and that gave us the confidence to score the ball. We gave more effort and were more focused."
If you didn't stay up and watch last night's game the score doesn't tell the story…at all. Once trailing by 22 points in the first half the Raptors clawed their way back and grabbed a 104-89 win.
It was a historical comeback. It also left the Clippers fans completely at a loss and they booed their team off the court.
It’s amazing that the team in the first quarter and the team in the fourth quarter were even the same one. The Raptors went on a 16-0 run to put the game out of reach against the Clippers, and you can’t do that just by shooting well (which they did). You have to actually play some defense, too. And unlike the fourth quarter against the Bulls, the Clippers weren’t simply missing shots they were hitting earlier, they were actually not being allowed to take very many good shots. Bosh and Bargnani (yes, I’m giving him credit), played good defense on Kaman to prevent him from getting easy looks, Calderon stopped Baron Davis from getting to his spots, and the rest of the team actually seemed to know what they were doing on the defensive end of the floor. It was actually inspiring to see.
After the first couple games I was ready to burn Jose at the stake, but over the last few games he’s had the fire of a Kevin Garnett and the tenacity of a Steve Nash. He’s the type of guy you want on your team. He’s a fighter. He’s a scrapper. He is relentless. Jose reminds me of the type of player Toronto sports fans love to watch. Something’s got him fired up recently. Here’s hoping it’s permanent.
- “The slow starts are a concern, but the big comebacks are a good sign – in that the team doesn’t quit or fold up the tent. Raptor teams in the past have done just that. This team keeps battling.”
- “It’s amazing what EFFORT can do. Didn’t I say that the other night too?”
The Clippers figured a way to give away the basketball. I mean some of the turnovers they have in the 2nd half was almost comical. It’s almost like watching the three stooges but instead of 3, it’s 5. Sometimes, they played like none of the players like each other. They took the lead because they were pounding the ball inside, run post plays for Kaman, Davis and Thornton. Then they stopped doing it after having success for no good reason. They shouldn’t lose this game, they were at home and up 22 points. I feel your pain, Clipper fans.
The Raptors do deserve a tonne of credit for fighting and working hard. It starts with rebounding and defense, as how it should be.
The athletic rookie joins Jonesy to talk about coming home to southern California and to assess his brief taste of the NBA thus far.
The former Raptors' assistant and current Clippers assistant joins Jonesy to talk about his lengthy career in the NBA coaching ranks, the differences between the two squads and where his son, John Lucas III, is in his quest to return to the league.
I share that opinion. The question is, can the Raptors afford to pay Bosh a max extension with other big salaries (Turkoglu, Calderon, Bargnani) already on the books? If the cap goes down significantly, the Raptors and the cheapskates at MLSE will likely have to pay the luxury tax for a year or two, until it goes back up.