Toronto Raptors blow out Los Angeles Clippers to extend Eastern Conference lead
Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game losing streak and extended their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference with a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Serge Ibaka had 25 points and nine rebounds as the visiting Toronto Raptors ended a two-game losing streak with a 123-99 win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.
Kyle Lowry came in 4-for-28 from the floor over the past four games, but shot 8-for-13 while scoring 21 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points off the bench and Pascal Siakam finished with 13 points for Toronto.
Boban Marjanovic scored 18 points. Fellow reserve Tyrone Wallace finished with a season-high 15 points to lead the Clippers. Danilo Gallinari led the starters with 11 points and Tobias Harris finished with 10, well below his season average (21.4).
The Eastern Conference-leading Raptors played without Kawhi Leonard, who has not played in games on consecutive days this season. Toronto play defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
Fred VanVleet moved into the starting lineup and finished with a career-high 14 assists. Including 10 in the first half, when the Raptors shot 63.8 per cent from the floor.
Toronto led 70-57 at the break and the Clippers never pulled any closer. Ibaka’s dunk made it 81-61 with 7:57 left in the third quarter, and the Clippers’ largest deficit of the season grew further when Lowry made a three-pointer to make it 103-71 with 1:02 left in the third.
The Clippers played without sixth man Lou Williams, who is averaging about 17 points a game. Williams is expected to miss two to three weeks with a left hamstring injury.
“Before the game we talked about our offence doing the work for us and it really did,” said Nurse. “I mean our defense was really good too. It was just a whole bunch of guys hitting them from all over the place – inside, outside, transition, executed our sets pretty good. Everybody got involved really.”
Nurse made a detour on his way from Toronto to the Staples Center Monday. His 94-year-old mother Marcella passed away in Carroll, Iowa, and the Raptors head coach stopped off to see his family on Monday before joining the team in time for the game Tuesday night. He made it in time to meet the media. Nurse is the youngest of nine from a sports-mad family.
Nurse played basketball, football and baseball in high school and he wasn’t the only one in his family bitten by the bug. So maybe it wasn’t a surprise that he made the effort to get back to the sidelines without missing a game. “I’m here because my mother wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said. “So I’ll coach the game and coach the next one tomorrow and then get back and take care of business.”
Therefore, he was asked what impact his mom had on him as an athlete and a coach. He smiled:
“She had a big impact because there were nine of us and I was the last one,” he said. “Lots of games. I said ’94 years, nine kids and about 80,000 games watched were her final stats.’ So certainly she was an impact.”
She missed a good one on Tuesday night. Her baby boy’s team did very well.