The Clippers Outclass The Raptors At The Staples Center 103-91Sports — By Buddy Sampson on January 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm
They Establish Home Court Dominance With Defense
January 22, 2012- The Los Angeles Clippers, in a show of home court dominance and defense at The Staples Center, crushed the Toronto Raptors 103-91.
The Clippers jumped on The Raptors early, starting with crowd pleasing dunks from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin started the festivities with a turnaround dunk in the lane, followed later in the quarter by a sensational rebound dunk by DeAndre Jordan that elicited oohs from the 19,000 plus in attendance, a sellout crowd. Chauncey Billups made a 3 pointer that gave The Clips an early 13-6 lead. Toronto seemed to be stuck on 6 for most of the 1st quarter as The Clipper defense was stifling, effectively keeping The Raptors from executing their offense. It wasn’t until Raptor Rasual Butler hit a 3 pointer with 2:20 left in the quarter that the Raptors were able to score more than 6 points in the quarter. The Clippers kept up their dominance throughout the game and The Raptors rarely got within single digits for the rest of the game and won going away 103-91.
Even though the season is getting off to a late start due to the NBA lockout, The Clippers players, in this condensed season, are playing with passion. Coach Vinny Del Negro deserves praise for the style of hustle and defensive effort that was on display against The Raptors. Griffin dived to the floor early in the game, which seemed to set the tone for the entire game. “It was a good win,” said veteran guard Chauncey Billups. “We were really worried about what we were trying to do.” However, as demonstrated in a Friday last minute loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team still is going through growing pains. “We had some slippage in the last few games and even though we won the Dallas game, we had a lot of slippage in that game,” said Billups. “We had a lot of slippage in the Jersey game and it finally caught up with us, of course, in that last game. But we got to work yesterday in a film session and really just passed out a lot of things that we wanted to come out today and try to work on those things and we did that.”
Blake Griffin, who, along with Jordan was able to rest the entire fourth quarter, stressed the defensive philosophy that seems to be a winning formula for The Clippers. “It’s a team defense, no one man is on an island.” said Griffin. “We’re over the place, scrambling around. We all have to be on a string, we’re all moving, we all have to help, we have to be on our rotations.”
Defense has been a staple of the team in 2012. “Our defense is there,” said center DeAndre Jordan. “Sometimes we have lapses. But when we really lock in and everybody’s doing their job and like I said, there’s no lapses, we can compete with any team.”