Raptors 91 – Los Angeles Clippers 80: BizzaroWorld


November 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Toronto Raptorsguard Cory Joseph (6) shoots against Los Angeles Clippers Austin Rivers (25) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The second half of Sunday afternoon’s game between the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers might have been the worst exhibition of hoops these eyes have suffered through in several seasons. Fortunately for the visitors, a huge lead built up in the opening two quarters was sufficient. The Raptors escaped the Staples Center with an 11-point victory.

The Toronto Raptors played nearly perfect ball against the Clippers in the first half, and were rewarded with a lead which stretched to 29 points at intermission. When the teams returned, they seemed to have switched sweaters. The Raptors, who have “owned” third quarters so far this season, managed 8 points, allowing the Clips back in the game. The fourth quarter was somehow worse, but the Clippers were almost as bad as the visitors, and never got closer than six points.

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Once the Clippers figured out the Raptors had no interior presence (why they needed two quarters to figure that out is above my pay grade), every defender seemed to be pressuring the ball on the perimeter. The Raptors ballhandlers were given no peace, and having decided to go super-small, coach Dwane Casey couldn’t offer his men an escape. The Raptors turned the ball over at an alarming rate, which was particularly galling considering how few turnovers they had committed early. The other problem when you go small is rebounding suffers (so does shotblocking – the Raptors didn’t record a block, while the opponents had nine. That’s a big ouch.) However, you can at least score when you’re small, right? The Raptors were 8 for 37, or 21.6%, and that included, or didn’t include, a single 3-ball on eight tries in the second half.

I hasten to point out so many Raptor shots were challenged by the Clippers, who could pay particular attention to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Why? Because Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross managed one basket between them, and were non-factors elsewhere.

You want proof of offensive dysfunction in the second half? The Raptors had more turnovers (11) than buckets (8). DeMarre Carroll had 21 points by halftime, and the same number at game’s end. Lowry and Cory Joseph were 1 for 11. What planet are we on?

The Raptors’ stressed-out front court put in a solid effort. Bismack Biyombo was 3 of 5 shooting(!), and pulled down 14 boards, which balanced out DeAndre Jordan’s numbers. Luis Scola chipped in with 20 points and 8 rebounds, and the Raptors won the boards battle 46-42. Blake Griffin was not a factor; he had as many fouls (4) as baskets.

Tired cliche time: it’s a long season. There are going to be all manner of games, some of which a team will lose when playing well, and some they will win despite putting in a poor performance. But I’m willing to wager considerable money that we won’t ever see a game again which our team wins after making 8 baskets in a half.

The Raptors return home to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. That squad is missing star guard Kyrie Irving so much they have only managed a 10-3 record. At least the Raptors get some rest after all the travel.

Next: Fixing Raptors' offense

Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.