When the Clippers led this game 53-48 at halftime, one still didn't get a very good feeling about things. The Clippers had made a bunch of threes, and meanwhile the Raptors had missed a bunch they normally make. The Clippers had opened the game in a zone and played if frequently, but Toronto had many times gotten wide open shots for Andrea Bargnani against it - Bargnani just happened to go 0 for 4 from deep in the first half from deep. In other words, even though the Raptors were held to 17 points in the second quarter, it felt a lot like that had more to do with Toronto missing shots than it did with the Clippers playing good defense.
Indeed, the second quarter turned out to be the exception. The Raptors scored 31, 33 and 33 in the 1st, 2nd and 4th stanzas. The Clippers led for the last time at 75-74 with 2:24 left in the third quarter. From there, Toronto went on a 40-17 finish to the game with 7 straight to end the third and a 33-17 advantage in the fourth. It's not quite as embarrassing as the 46-14 run the Warriors hung on them in LA, but it's pretty impressive.
The Clippers defense has been really, really bad in the Kim Hughes era, and this game was no exception. The Raptors shot 61% for the game, and it's not difficult to see why looking at the shot charts. Basically, they just paraded to the front of the rim, especially in the second half, and the Clippers did little to stop them.
Hughes experimented with DeAndre Jordan as the starting power forward tonight - a worthwhile gambit to get him some experience, given that DeAndre is one of the few players under contract for next season. Unfortunately, in this particular game, it was a disaster. DJ picked up two fouls in the first quarter, and got his third in just a few seconds of court time when he re-entered the game in the second quarter. All told, DeAndre had 3 points and 3 rebounds and 5 fouls in 12:30 of playing time - not the game he or Hughes was looking for from a starter.
Eric Gordon continued to struggle shooting the ball, making just 3 of 12 shots, which puts him at 5 for 25 in the two games on the road trip so far. With Baron Davis back in LA, the Clippers can ill-afford to have Gordon providing so little on offense.
It was unlikely that the Clippers would win on this road trip, facing three teams battling for playoff positions (or in the case of the Raptors, for the playoffs at all). Defeats by 18 and 22 are therefore not really surprising - but they're also not a lot of fun.