The Toronto Raptors have now won 8 games in a row, after a convincing victory against one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers (Quick Reaction). The Clippers after a dismal start to the season, are surging in the West standings but were no match for Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors last night at the ACC, dropping their second game against the Raptors this season, with a final score of 112-94.
The Raptors add another impressive win to their list of 29 wins this season, a list already consisting of wins against Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Atlanta, San Antonio, Dallas twice, and now this Clippers team twice.
Notables of the Night
- Winning Stream Continues: The current 8-game winning streak is the second longest in franchise history for the Raptors, who last won 9 in a row back in 2002, to close out the 01/02 season and barely squeak into the playoffs without the services of Vince Carter. That Raptors squad went onto to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Detroit Pistons. And now, today’s Raptors team, has won 8 in a row, in the midst of a 7-game homestand, and looking to continue their winning ways with upcoming home games. The Raptors are looking to continue making their mark on the eastern conference, where the number 1 seed is now only 2 games away. Don’t look now, but with controversy in Cleveland after their coaching change (though I don’t expect Cleveland to lose their number 1 seed), things could at least be interesting for the next few weeks
- The Bench: After a rocky start to the game, getting down quick to the Clippers 34-27 at the end of the first quarter, the Raptors started the second quarter on the right foot behind a galvanizing bench unit led by Cory Joseph. Joseph, Biyombo, Ross and Patterson, the core bench unit this team needs so badly, combined for 50 points. Ross and Patterson finally looked like the bench tandem that will take the Raptors to the next level as an elite team in the standings, as they contributed to a Raptors bench unit that completely outplayed the bench of the Clippers, which could only muster up 29 points.
- Ross and Biyombo: Probably the most notable bench performances were those of Terrence Ross and Bismack Biyombo. Ross, who is no stranger to scoring against the Clippers at the ACC, showed his brilliance from 3-point range once again, going 5-7 from 3 and 6-10 overall. If Ross brings that kind of performance every night, or even 2 out of every 3 nights, the Raptors will be tough to stop come playoff time. The same goes for Bismack Biyombo, who reminded us of his starting days (during JV’s injury), with a strong performance from the field going 4-6, chipping in with a near double-double of 10 points and 9 rebounds. That was the kind of interior defense the Raptors needed against DeAndre Jordan the other Clippers bigs.
- Solid Team Defense: The Raptors held the fourth best offense in the league to under 100 points and only 45% from the field. The Raptors were fuelled by their own defensive unit, ranked 10th in the league, as they nipped their first quarter problems at the bud closing out on Clippers shooters, getting in between passing lanes, generating turnovers and getting a few easy transition buckets. The defense for the Raptors will continue to play an ultra-important factor in determining winning or losing on most nights. The Raptors in their 29 wins this season have held opponents under 42% from the field, as compared to 48% in their losses. The key for the Raps? Hold your opponent under 45% if you can, and most nights, you’ll win. Especially impressive last night for the Raptors, considering the offensive prowess of their opponent
Will’s Take (source)
The Raptors look to make it 9 in a row on Tuesday, as the Washington Wizards come to town in the fourth and final game of the season series against John Wall and company. The Raps are a perfect 3-0 against the Wizards this season. The Raptors then round out the week to close out their homestand with Thursday and Saturday games against the Knicks and Pistons respectively. Barring any injuries, let-downs, or perhaps a 20 and 20 game from Andre Drummond, a 3-0 week ahead seems reasonably achievable – could the Raptors be 32-15 at the end of January? The quest starts on Tuesday.