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Happy Birthday Bledsoe: Clippers Beat Toronto 102-83

The starters all played less than 30 minutes as the Clippers pulled away with a 25-10 fourth quarter to top the Toronto Raptors.

Harry How

You know the deal. Let's jump into some game details, followed by big picture stuff. The rundown of what you need to know following this afternoon's 19-point win over the Clippers' Canadian counterparts.

  • Big Day for Bled: On his 23rd birthday, Eric Bledsoe had 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in only 20 minutes as he continues to stuff the stat sheet almost every game. The young point guard's future with the team is uncertain, but it's looking more and more like he'll have a monster career no matter where he ends up. For more on Bledsoe, check out my article on him.
  • Rest for the Starters: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin continue to play low minutes, with only 28 and 29 today, respectively. It would have been the third game in a row in which no starter appeared in the fourth quarter had Matt Barnes not been questionably ejected in the 4th quarter, forcing Caron Butler back into the game.
  • Lamar Odom resurgence: Here's game 20, and he's looking pretty good in a slow game for Lamar today. He had 4 points and 5 boards with one each of assists, steals, and blocks. However, Odom is still struggling with his jumpshot, as his 0-4 effort from deep today leaves him at 2-22 on the season.
  • Bench Reigns Triumphant: A Tribe Called Bench. Bench Fries. Whatever you want to call them, there's little doubt that the Clippers reserves are among the best, if not the best, in the league. Today, every singe backup for the home team was + in the +/- column; and while that's not a perfect measure, it's useful because Bledsoe(+21), Odom(+18), Barnes(+15), and Turiaf(+17) normally all play together.
  • Defensive Stand in the 4th: The Clippers entered the final frame with a narrow 4 point lead, and the starters on the bench. All the backups did was hold the Raptors to 10 points in the final 12 minutes. 8 points in the final 11 minutes. 4 points in the final 9 minutes. The Raptors did not make a field goal from a DeMar DeRozan putback with 9:06 to play until Linas Kleiza made a three with 19 seconds remaining and no defense to speak of. 4th Quarter Scoring: Toronto Raptors: 10, Eric Bledsoe: 10.
  • Turnovers and Rebounding: Obviously, whatever team scores the most points wins. There's two ways to score more points than your opponents: get more possessions, and convert more possessions. It's hard to control your FG%, but there's two ways to get more possessions: winning the turnover battle and the rebounding battle. Today, the Clippers turned the ball over only 9 times, and had 11 steals en route to Toronto's 14 turnovers.
  • LAC also had 15 offensive boards, and won the total rebounding battle 45-39. All that made for 2 more shots and 17 more free throws for the Clippers- probably 9 or 10 more possessions for the Clippers in this one made a huge difference.

Division picture:

1. Los Angeles Clippers 14-6

2. Golden State Warriors 13-7 (1)

3. Los Angeles Lakers 9-11 (5)

4.Sacramento Kings 7-12 (6.5)

5 Phoenix Suns 7-14 (7.5)

The Clippers maintain a full game cushion for first place, and a large lead over the bottom three teams in the division. The Lakers have a tough game tonight against the Jazz.

  • Conference Snapshot:

    Team Name

    Record Games Back
    1 Oklahoma City Thunder 17-4 -
    2 San Antonio Spurs 16-4 .5
    3 Memphis Grizzles 14-4 1.5
    4 Los Angeles Clippers 14-6 2.5
    5 Golden State Warriors 13-7 3.5
    The goal here has to be to just keep winning. The Clippers need OKC, SAS, and MEM to lose a couple of games each, and as long as the Clippers keep winning, that'll happen in time. OKC plays Indiana tonight, while the rest of these teams have their Sunday off.
  • Winning Streak: The Clippers have now won 6 games in a row. This is the third such streak in the Chris Paul era. New York lost last night, leaving the Clippers in sole possession of the second longest active streak. If the Clippers can extend their streak to 7, it will be the first game winning streak that the Clippers have had in the Chris Paul era.
  • Next Game: Next up for the Clippers is a Tuesday evening matchup in Chicago. The tip is 6:30 PST, which means a 6:15 thread. The Clippers beat but Bulls by 21 in Los Angeles earlier this season, and Chicago boasts an 11-8 record heading into Tuesday.
  • Opponent Perspective: To see what the Raptors thought of this game, check out Raptors HQ.

Final - 12.9.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Toronto Raptors 21 26 26 10 83
Los Angeles Clippers 25 19 33 25 102

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