Fresh off a relatively easy win against the Golden State Warriors, who despite dropping their last two still boast the NBA’s best record, the Clippers today face the pretenders to the top spot in the embarrassingly bad NBA Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors. Toronto is coming off a bad loss against the Bulls, who with a rejuvenated Derrick Rose have won their last five and who will soon climb to the top of that moribund bunch of bad, bad teams. In fact, the Western Conferences’s Southwest Division, comprised of a grand total of five team boasts as many teams over .500 as the entire 15-team Eastern Conference.
|Toronto has won nine of its last 12 games, including a six-game winning streak, but of those nine wins, not one of them was against a team that was at .500 or better. Conversely, over that last 12 games, the three match-ups against teams with winning records were all Raptors' losses. The last quarter of basketball played by Toronto had to be the most embarrassing quarter they've played this season, as they allowed the Bulls 49 points over those 12||
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The Clippers have been battling an overall team scoring slump, but that has not affected their team defense, which on Thursday held the Warriors to their lowest point total of the season, and their first sub-90 point total. The Warriors’ dynamic backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, averaging 44.4 points per game between them, were held to a total of 29 on 11-of-30 shooting. Despite their own slow start hitting the basket, the Clippers won that game going away, with an 11-point margin in the fourth quarter, behind 12 fourth-quarter pints and a return to form from Jamal Crawford, who has been battling and attempting to play through the pain and restrictions of a burst bursa sac in his right elbow.
Honestly, I just do not see how the Raptors have the record they do, or how they will stay close to the Clippers today.