Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors - Game Preview

2010/2011 NBA Regular Season
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vs.
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20-33

14-40
Air Canada Centre
February 13th, 2011, 3:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Jose Calderon
 Randy Foye SG DeMar DeRozan
Ryan Gomes
SF Sonny Weems
Blake Griffin
PF Ed Davis
DeAndre Jordan
C Andrea Bargnani

 

The Back Story:

  • First meeting of the season. The Raptors swept the season series last year.

The Big Picture:

In consecutive road games, the Clippers are facing the jilted former teams of the biggest free agents from last summer. Friday night, it was the Cavs without LeBron James, tonight it's the Raptors without Chris Bosh. Both the Cavs and Raps have fallen far after losing their stars, but that didn't stop Cleveland from ending their 26 game losing streak and beating the Clippers Friday, so obviously LA can't take anything for granted. What's strange about the now five game old Odyssey of the Clippers is that Baron Davis has played better than anyone had any right to expect him to, and yet the team is 1-4 on the trip. Obviously they're missing Eric Gordon - both in the sense that he's not playing, and in the sense that the MISS him and his impact on the game. Blake Griffin's post up chances have essentially disappeared in Gordon's absence. In fact, the Clippers probably need to go away from those Blake isos, or at least have him kick out of the double more quickly, because (a) it's not working and (b) Griffin is developing bad habits. On the other hand, Davis has been great at manufacturing points late in games on this trip. Randy Foye has had consecutive good games starting in Gordon's place, but Ryan Gomes has been inconsistent, as has the rest of the lineup. The Clippers still have a chance to make a road run before the all star break, but at 4-19 overall on the road, it's not likely.

The Antagonist:

If the Cavs were the coldest team in the NBA, the Raptors are the second coldest. They've lost 16 of their last 17 games, but because the Cavs were losing 26 straight at the same time, no one seemed to notice how bad the Raptors were. The Raptors are led in scoring by former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani at 21.5 points per game. Former USC and Compton High star DeMar DeRozan is averaging almost 16 points per game in his second season. The Raptors big problem is stopping people. They were a terrible defensive team last season, worst in the league at 113.2 points allowed per 100 possessions. This season they're actually a little better defensively at 109.4, 29th in the league (ahead of only the Cavs), but their offense has been a lot worse since Bosh's departure.

The Subplots

  • Worst. Preview. Ever. ClipperZoe is in the middle of a birthday party. We went to Disneyland all day yesterday, and then she had a sleepover with her friends, and they're still here now. So I just haven't had time to write a decent preview. Sorry about that.
  • Bargnani. Bargnani's 21.5 per game makes him the sixth highest scoring player in the Eastern Conference, but even so, he barely got mentioned as a candidate for the All Star team, despite the fact that the East had a dearth of good candidates. That's owing to a couple of things. First and foremost there is the Raptors poor record of course. But there's also the fact that Bargnani does very little besides score. He's a center, shooting 45% from the field and getting 5.5 rebounds per game - he's also a terrible defender. The guy can score - but given the rest of his game, it's hard to have him on the floor.
  • Please, don't lose again. After losing to the Cavs on Friday, earning the dubious honor of the team that finally ended the longest losing streak in the history of the NBA, it would be quite an embarrassing pair of losses to now lose to the Raptors.
  • Injuries. The Raptors have some minor injuries that could keep players out of this game. Amir Johnson missed the last game with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable today. Leandro Barbosa is doubtful with a bruised thigh. Alexis Ajinca is questionable as well, though that wouldn't be a huge loss. Losing Johnson a Ajinca would give the Raptors fewer big bodies to throw at Griffin.
  • Definition:
  • raptor - n

    1.
    another name for bird of prey

    2. informal  a carnivorous bipedal dinosaur of the late Cretaceous period

    I hate this team name. Hate it. A raptor is a hawk or a falcon - it's not a dinosaur. Until Jurassic Park, no one had any idea what this sort of 'raptor' was. It's akin to calling your team the Ghostbusters or the Mighty Ducks.

  • Get the Raptors perspective at Raptors HQ.
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