The Clippers rallied in the second half to defeat the Raptors, 117-106, in Toronto on Sunday.
L.A. finished a four-game road trip against playoff-bound teams 2-2, which kept alive the Clippers’ postseason hopes.
Here are five takeaways from the victory over the Eastern Conference’s best team.
1. It took some time, but the Clippers finally decided to play some defense against the Raptors. That made all the difference for the Clippers to pull out a win over a team with the third-best record in the NBA.
The Clippers went down by 18 points in the first quarter, giving up way too many open three-pointers to the Raptors, who shot six for 10 from long range in the first 12 minutes of the game.
In the second half the Clippers limited the Raptors to 36.8% from three-point range. The Clippers closed out better on Toronto’s three-point shooters, limiting the Raptors’ All-Star backcourt to 22 points combined on seven-of-22 shooting, three for eight from long range.
“I think defensively we picked it up,” said Lou Williams, who had a game-high 26 points. “We communicated more. We understood their game plan. They are a high-powered three-point shooting team, and they want to drive and kick and get guys open looks. We understood that. So we adjusted at halftime and it worked for us.”
2. Though he made only one three-pointer in four attempts, Williams is closing in on a milestone for the Clippers. Currently ranked fourth in Clippers’ history in three-pointers made in a single season, Williams needs 22 more to surpass franchise-leader J.J. Redick, who established the mark with 201 made last season.
Williams, one of the best sixth men in the NBA, has nine games left to break the team record for three-pointers in a single season, beginning Tuesday night with a game at Staples Center against the Milwaukee Bucks, a team the Clippers beat 127-120 during the second game of their road trip.
3. It was a show to behold the 7-3 Boban Marjanovic and Montrezl Harrell working in unison in the fourth quarter to help the Clippers pull out the win. They were on the court together when the Clippers went on a 16-0 run for a 96-82 lead in the fourth.
The shining moment was when Marjanovic threw a no-look bounce pass to Harrell for a dunk. On the next trip down the court, Marjanovic got deep position in the post, received a pass and dunked.
He finished with four points on two-for-three shooting, three rebounds, one assist, one blocked shot and a plus-10 rating in the plus-minus category.
Harrell finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
4. The Clippers shot well from three-point range. They made 44.4% of their three-pointers, going eight for 18.
Wesley Johnson, in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game, went three for three from three-point territory, while Tobias Harris made two of three.
5. The Clippers took care of the basketball to put themselves in position to win.
They had only nine turnovers in the game and none in the fourth quarter.