Clippers edge past Raptors, 108-100, move up to sixth

The Clippers completed their season series with the Toronto Raptors on a 2-0 sweep.

LOS ANGELES — After the Clippers ended a five-game losing streak on Sunday with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies and toured the Intuit Dome, the team’s new $2 billion home in Inglewood, on Tuesday, the Clippers continued their winning ways on Wednesday with a 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Kawhi Leonard completely tore down a tough Toronto defense, bringing out one poster dunk after another against the Raptors on a night where the Clippers finished with a season-high 14 dunks. Leonard, who reached 12,000 career points with a free throw at the end of the first quarter, led the Clippers in the first half with 17 points, five rebounds on 75% shooting from the field. He went on to finish the night 8-for-15 from the field with 12 rebounds and 24 points.

“Just playing consistent”, Leonard replied when asked what he wanted from his team the rest of this season. “If we can play hard throughout the whole 48 minutes and have a great defensive game, that would be great.”

How it happened: Seven turnovers and six made baskets compared to the Raptors’ nine put the Clippers ahead, 25-17, at the end of the first quarter. Two buckets, a three-pointer and a bad pass from Pascal Siakam allowed Paul George to dunk and bring the game within two. Ivica Zubac and Leonard picked up the final three baskets of the half for Los Angeles, making it a tie game heading into halftime, 49-49.

The Clippers first huge lead of the game came in the third quarter at 79-68. An early 6-0 run from the Raptors brought Toronto back within seven early in the fourth quarter. Despite it, the Clippers held on to their lead and broke away for their second straight win. 

What it means: The Clippers’ two-game win streak has them back in the payoff as the sixth seed and out of the play-in tournament for now. After suffering a five-game loss streak the team dropped to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Now the team sits in sixth at 35-33 overall.

Hits: Aside from Leonard’s performance, George led the team in scoring with 23 points and four assists, and Zubac scored 17 points and added eight rebounds. Russell Westbrook led the Clippers in assists with seven and picked up seven points. Fred Van Fleet made franchise history for Toronto, becoming the third-highest ranking Raptor in assists.

Misses: Marcus Morris Sr. continued to struggle as he had two made baskets in 23 minutes on the court. Norman Powell sat out of the game with an injured shoulder.

Stat of the game: The Clippers dominated in the paint, finishing the game with 60 while Toronto collected 42. The Clippers also had 20 fast break points compared to the Raptors’ 10.

Up next: The Clippers will stay in Los Angeles for their next game against the New York Knicks on Saturday. The Knicks are 39-28 overall and 25-12 on the road. They sit in the fifth seed in the East and snapped a five-game win streak in their last game against the Hornets, losing 112-105.

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