Field goal attempts disparity doesn’t help Raptors vs Clippers

Kawhi Leonard is 6-0 against Toronto since leaving.

In some ways, this game was a microcosm of the entire season.

The Raptors game plan on most nights is clear. Pressure opponents with a heightened focus on stars, force turnovers and get out in transition to mask a suspect half court offence. This worked in the first quarter, as the Clippers turned it over seven times. Toronto had an eight point lead through one despite shooting under 40 percent from the field, largely in part to having 10 more shot attempts. Paul George specifically only took one shot in the first 15 minutes.

Oddly enough, massive disparities like these have not helped the Raptors.

Toronto had a good opportunity to push the lead to double digits but the shot making simply wasn’t there as we’ve seen too many times this season. The bench outside of Chris Boucher went 2-15. O.G. Anunoby made four threes, and seems comfortable with his perimeter shot again. However Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet were a combined 19-54 (35%). Keep in mind the Clippers were allowing a league worst 131.7 points over previous last six games (spiked by allowing 176 to Sacramento in double OT but 153 of that was in regulation). The Raptors finished with 100.

As the Clippers offence settled in, they got back into the game by connecting on 56 percent of their shots in the first half. L.A. upped that with a 74 percent third quarter, ultimately taking a double digit lead and never looking back.

Whether it was live ball Raptor turnovers or just not handling the point of attack well, there were way too many easy Clipper baskets in the second half like these below.

Winless vs Kawhi

What do you expect from the robot? He was his usual efficient self and now improves to 6-0 against the Raptors since leaving after the championship. He kept the Clippers in the game early when they were struggling to hold onto the ball and helped seal things late.

Leonard had four dunks in this game (one off an uncalled double dribble), saving his best one against Jakob Poeltl in the fourth.

Fred goes OFF on Ben Taylor

Fred received a bizarre technical in the third quarter from Ben Taylor. The broadcast didn’t show any replays of VanVleet deserving that tech. There had to be built up frustration from the Raptors after feeling robbed by the refs in Denver on Monday. L.A. shot 17 more free throws in this game but it wasn’t terribly officiated in my eyes.

However Fred’s issue with Taylor in particular led to an all-timer presser that we will remember for years.

A hefty fine is coming obviously. Shaq famously ripped the refs on live TV after a win vs the Raptors (ironically) in 2004 and received a one game suspension. The fact that this was a post game podium may save VanVleet from a similar fate.

Up Next: Same building, different team. The Raptors stay in L.A to play the Lakers on Friday, who are surging up the West standings despite missing LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell. The Raptors are 1-3 on this road trip but still remain ninth in the East.

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