Not all of us can say that we helped the Los Angeles Clippers to a 102-83 victory against the Toronto Raptors on our 23rd birthdays. But Eric Bledsoe can. And what a birthday present it was.
In a close repeat of yesterday’s game, the starters warmed the bench in the fourth quarter as the second team took a slight lead over the Raptors and turned it into a win. The Clippers held the Raptors scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 25-10 in the period and shutting down any residual hopes.
This is the third-straight game that the Clippers’ bench- now affectionately nicknamed “A Tribe Called Bench”- has dominated the final quarter. Of these last three games, the Clippers (mostly bench, may I add) have outscored their opponents 86-48 in the fourth quarter alone. How’s that for a stat.
For the Clippers, Blake Griffin led the team with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. And in fact, this is the second game he has led the team in steals (if that isn’t a sign of the Mayan apocalypse, I don’t know what is). Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each put up 16 points, and birthday boy Bledsoe had 14 points and 6 assists.
For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan led the team with 24 points and 5 rebounds. Linas Kleiza and Andrea Bargnani followed with 17 points and 12 points, respectively. Unfortunately for Toronto, this is the Raptors’ 10th consecutive road loss. Didn’t a Canadian invent the game of basketball? Yikes.
On a better note, today’s win marks the Clippers’ 6th-straight victory, which ties their season-high streak. They hit the road for another 4-game trip and face the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, hoping to better their road performance and record. Facing the Bulls in Chicago should make for a very good game, so I hope that the Clippers come ready to play.