December 9, 2012 by bronasvalanciunas
The Raptors are out to a solid start in the first. Some very respectable ball movement leads to some early baskets from Bargnani, Kleiza, and Lowry. Early in the proceedings the Raptors lead 7-3.
On the other end, Kleiza throws a sly elbow into the midriff of Blake Griffin. “What a battle mentality this man shows! This is the kind of edge the Raptors need to play with if they want to win the game!” Courtesy of that (idiotic) technical foul the Clippers get to shoot some fouls and quickly go on a run to make it 9-7 Clippers.
After the hot start the Raptors have slowed down on the offensive end, and are 1-8 on their last eight field goal attempts. However, courtesy of the Raptors always-brilliant team defense, they’ve managed to keep it tight. 13-10 Clippers.
We are now are treated to a scintillating interview with Brian Colangelo. He talks about how the team lacks the focus required to win games. But we all know that what he really wants to scream is “WHY DID I SEND TEENAGE HEARTTHROB AND LEGENDARY BEARD QUINCY ACY DOWN TO THE D-LEAGUE!!!!! WHY!!!!!!!” We all miss you, Quincy. First in the alphabet, first in our hearts. Obvious Quincy Acy related subtexts aside, BC talks about our problems with youth and lack of experience. This spiel literally minutes after talking about making no excuses for poor play. Our problems go waaaay beyond youth, Brian.
In his tirade BC says that he thinks the team “like” each other, but are just afraid to show it in public (on the court). Here’s my idea for how to fix that. Everyone grows out their fingernails and then starts referring to their hands as “Raptor Claws”. They can do photo shoots showing their newfound ability to palm really large melons etc. This is a slam-dunk from a PR perspective.
End of 1st: 25-21 Clippers. Raptors getting O-rebbed to death here, but thanks to poor shooting from LA, are hanging in.
On a possession early in the first quarter, Calderon tries to throw the ball to Amir inside a sea of Clippers. This ends in a predictable turnover. We need to stop trying to make these ridiculous plays if we want any chance in this game.
On the following possession Ed Davis runs the floor and lays the ball up. Yeah! Ed Davis! He follows this up with a nice dunk. If only everyone on the Raptors team was an Ed Davis clone. We’d probably be about 5-15, averaging more offensive rebounds than field goal attempts.
Ed Davis is leading our second unit to a very respectable performance so far.
The Clippers have trotted out their bench for the early part of the 2nd. This brings back the haunting memories of 11th grade, when I styled my hair and face based on Ronny Turiaf.
5:00 to go. Turiaf is out, and Griffin is back in.
Even Jamal Crawford is getting in on the O-reb fest. He jumps over 3 or 4 Raptors to tip the ball back in the hoop.
But on the other end… Lowry gives his man the eyes, and then throws it up to Demar Derozan for the alley-oop! Raptors fans everywhere laugh and smile like the giddy children they once were. Tee-hee. Raptors within 3.
Jonas grabs a feisty o-reb and gets the foul for his troubles. This is the first time I’ve noticed him this game, sadly.
With 13.1ish to go, ANDREA HITS THE #!!!!!!!!! Shit. That # should have come off as a 3, but I went shift crazy. Sorry for ruining the moment.
Halftime Score: 47-44 Raptors. We end with a strong finish to the second quarter and have been able to stifle the Clippers offensively, and are up by 3 with contributions sprinkled throughout the team. Am I cautiously optimistic about a Raptors win here?? Yeah, you know. I think I am.
The Raptors open up the 3rd by failing to rebound a free throw, and then surrendering a 2 to Caron Butler. Classic Drummond.
The Clippers have come out shooting better in the 3rd quarter, courtesy of their smaller fellas coming out with a little more verve. I think somebody must have been having some of that Primo pasta in the break. And that somebody is Chris Paul.
Jack Armstrong and Matt Devlin are now discussing the intricacies of what makes a premium sandwich. It’s this kind of talk which makes me want to turn off the game and go eat a second breakfast. But I won’t. Because it’s 60-60 thanks to an Andrea 3.
Derozan then comes back and hits an off-balance 3 of his own, and then comes back with a drive for 2 and then a jumper for 2. Demar has 20 points, to go with 4 assists and a new found love of origami.
However, the Clippers are stretching out a lead thanks to intelligent shooting etc. At the end of the 3rd quarter: 77-73 for the Clippers. The Raptors were much weaker defensively in that quarter, though credit must also go to Clippers for working out what to do when they have the ball. It’s still close, and sets up for an (undecided adjective) 4th quarter.
Matt Barnes has stepped into the game. He needs to put on at least 20 more pounds for me to start referring to him as “Meat” Barnes.
Even Turiaf is making buckets on his post-ups.
Demar Derozan has continued to make shots. Right now, he’s the only thing that’s keeping the game close, and he’s helping make up for Terrence Ross’s shooting ineptitude from beyond the arc and general sauropsid attitude towards life and basketball (I’m fully aware of just how insightful that statement is).
Bledsoe picks off another errant pass (Derozan) to race down the court for an easy two-handed dunk. Turnovers have hurt the Raptors today over and over again and while some may call turning the ball over a lovable quirk, I’m starting to think it might be the Raptors’ Achilles heel.
How did this turn into an 11-point lead for the Clippers? The Raptors are fading hard through this fourth quarter. Here is a list of excuses:
They’re lost in the enchanted forest.
Their dogs ate their homework.
They were traumatized as children by older men leering at them from park benches.
They can’t stop thinking about the difference between a parrot and a parakeet.
All of their mothers recently got radical new haircuts and not even whiskey and Betty Crocker icing can help them to deal with it.
In the time it took me to write all that, and then blow my nose, and then put on a different pair of slippers, the lead has stretched to 19! 99-80 Clippers.
Oh well. The Raptors were truly competitive today for 3-and-a-bit quarters. Which is a hell of a lot better than the debacle against the Utah Jazz.
On the plus side, John Lucas III checks into the game. If there is one man who can turn over a 19-point deficit in 2:00, it’s JL3. Dwane Casey, you genius.
He quickly gets involved with Barnes, who seems to be annoyed by Lucas’ shiny head. Ejections for both of them.
Even 19 points down, Dwane Casey doesn’t risk putting Aaron Gray out there. Thank goodness.
Final Score: 102-83. We really had a good thing going for a while there. But boy did it get ugly towards the end. Onwards!
Game Goat (an insult): Jonas Valanciunas. Lovable he may be, but today his stat line looked like that of Aaron Gray after a good game. I shudder.
Game Toad (quirky, but generally ineffective performance): Kyle Lowry. 9 assists and 6 rebounds is a very respectable line, but Lowry could not find his shooting game today, and turned the ball over 5 times too many.
Game Bench (a good thing): Blake Griffin. It’s a rare day when the Game Bench is the player who can bench the most. Today is that day.
Game Hex (best Raptor): Demar Derozan. The only Raptor who managed to score consistently in the second half today. Not even he could save the Raptors today.