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The distinction between the Raptors going through some powerful refereeing in Denver and once more in Los Angeles was Toronto deserved a greater destiny towards the Nuggets, however not towards the Clippers. The Raptors had been the higher group for a lot of the Denver sport and will have come away with a win. In opposition to the Clippers, the guests had been fairly clearly the second-best group on the courtroom.
And the ultimate rating most likely even flattered the Raptors. The Clippers hit solely six three-pointers, the group’s third-worst efficiency from deep this season and tied for a season-low for an opponent for makes towards the Raptors this 12 months. And the Raptors shot 41% from deep, fourth-highest percentage-wise since January 1. Flip these round and this may have been a blowout.
Kawhi Leonard gave the impression to be on a mission. Leonard seems to be recovered from his varied accidents and the Clippers, even after the unusual signing of Russell Westbrook and even with a mediocre report, will probably be a group no one will need to face within the playoffs.
That’s doubtless not the case for the Raptors. Regardless that they regarded nice when Jakob Poeltl first arrived and have been comfortable to get O.G. Anunoby again within the lineup, the offence doesn’t look anyplace near ok to win a sequence. I’d undoubtedly again them in a play-in towards Washington, Chicago, or Indiana and doubtless towards Atlanta or Miami, however would they win greater than a sport towards both Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia or Cleveland?
It’s too dangerous there’s no actual path to a sequence towards both New York or Brooklyn, both could be decide ‘ems to me and I’d most likely lean Toronto over Brooklyn.
AROUND THE RIM
Leonard is now 6-0 towards the Raptors since leaving for Los Angeles. He’s solely averaged 17.8 factors in these video games, however has additionally averaged 6.2 assists and 1.8 steals and shot 91% from the free throw line and 47.1% from the sphere in these video games (despite the fact that he shot 2-for-11 for 12 factors in his first sport as a Clipper towards Toronto). Leonard is a exceptional 13-2 all-time towards the Raptors and hasn’t dropped a sport towards them since December 2015.
If that bought you questioning, LeBron James is 42-16 towards the Raptors (within the common season), Kevin Durant is 20-8, Stephen Curry is 18-3, Chris Bosh went 12-2 towards his former group, and Kobe Bryant went 24-9 towards them.
All I’ll say concerning the officiating is nice on Fred VanVleet for talking his thoughts and being keen to take the positive for doing so. A handful of referees appear to assume they’re the present, that individuals come to see them gesture and ham for the cameras and make unusual calls. Sure, it should be annoying as hell to have some gamers complaining continuous about each single name or non-call (we’re you Luka Doncic). However officers make an excellent residing calling video games and might’t be throwing out a participant on one technical foul with a sport nonetheless within the stability (just like the one on Scottie Barnes in Denver), or the hilariously poor one towards VanVleet again in November for flippantly tossing a ball towards the stanchion. The Clippers performed more durable than the Raptors, however did they deserve greater than double the free throw makes an attempt? Did VanVleet deserve his technical within the third quarter? No and sure could be my reply.
VanVleet refreshingly tells it like he sees it and isn’t afraid to talk his thoughts thoughtfully. With a lot nonsense on this planet, even in sports activities media, VanVleet is a throwback. We want extra individuals like him.
Congratulations to VanVleet for passing DeMar DeRozan, one other all-time nice fact teller who occurs to be one in every of VanVleet’s mentors, in profession assists by a Raptor. VanVleet now trails solely Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon. He’s additionally going to cross Vince Carter within the subsequent week or two in profession steals as a Raptor (trailing solely Lowry, Doug Christie, DeRozan and Morris Peterson). In an fascinating quirk, VanVleet has now performed 403 video games as a Raptor, the identical as Vince Carter.
Nonetheless to come back this season: VanVleet ought to transfer into High 10 in video games performed as a Raptor, passing now commentator Alvin Williams and Pascal Siakam ought to transfer into sixth, passing Jonas Valanciunas.
THREE STARS VS. CLIPPERS
1 Kawhi Leonard
2 Pascal Siakam
3 Paul George
Honourable point out
: O.G. Anunoby, Ivaca Zubac, Terrence Mann
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