The Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off a roller coaster night in Detroit and a 4:00am arrival in Toronto on game day to knock off the Raptors by 124-113.
With John Wall the biggest absentee due to injury management and Kawhi Leonard back in the fold on the second night of the back-to-back, the team looked much more solid than they had on Tuesday.
So, in the style of a local Canadian rapper, here are the takeaways…
Track 1: ‘6 God’
Norman Powell got a tribute video and a standing ovation from the franchise that he started out with, and responded by dropping 22 points on their heads. With shooting splits of roughly 57/67/100 and three steals to boot, the former Raptor was a big factor in an impressive win from the Clippers.
"I was looking forward to this game, so I had all the energy I needed"— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) December 28, 2022
Norm speaks on playing in Toronto for the first time in front of fans and the Raptors' tribute video @LAClippers | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/alLG4hLwOu
He’s quietly been purring for a while, though. After a slow start to the season that was punctuated by injury, his return to the floor has seen him consistently putting up double-digit scoring displays on much more efficient shooting than before his absence.
Given the Raptors defensive prowess, it took the expertise of a former Champion in Toronto to take them down.
Track 2: ‘Take Care’
It also took care, and care of the basketball, specifically. After committing 20 turnovers against the Pistons, turning the ball over just nine times against the team that ranks first in the NBA for opponent giveaways and second in points scored to capitalize on them is an impressive feat that deserves recognition.
Some fans will be hesitant to give this team their flowers for what could be seen as simply “righting their wrongs”, but it’s surely for the best that the Clippers get these bad habits out of their system at this stage of the regular season and find their best performances against the level of opponent defense that they’ll be facing in the postseason.
Significantly encouraging Clippers game from turnover standpoint.— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) December 28, 2022
Clippers had only 11 in Toronto, marking 6th time all season with 11 or fewer in a game. 4 of those 6 games have been in December.
It's almost like they're progressing or something.
The Raptors threw constant double and triple teams, but they came up against a squad that showed the ultimate composure and exploited mismatches.
Track 3: ‘5 Am In Toronto’
The biggest of those mismatches came via the 5 position, in Ivica Zubac. In my takeaways from Tuesday’s win, I lobbied for getting the Croatian more help down low by going into the market, but this was the kind of game that justified the Clippers leaning heavily on their big man and mixing it up by going small while he sits.
The small lineups on Wednesday worked much better than the previous evening with 47 team rebounds, while Zu was able to feast underneath the basket by pulling down 10 offensive boards.
A late Christmas care package from the Clippers. To round off these tired Aubrey puns, what a time to be alive.