January 25, 2016 / 4:09 AM / 2 years ago

Bench contribution carries Raptors past Clippers

(The Sports Xchange) - Toronto had 51 points from their reserve players and the Los Angeles Clippers had 29 from theirs as the Raptors scored a 112-94 win on Sunday to extend their streak to eight games.

Jan 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) shields the ball from Toronto Raptors guard Cory Joseph (6) in the first quarter at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Lowry had 21 points and six assists for the Raptors (29-15), who are riding the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. They won nine in a row in 2002.

“I thought that second unit got their togetherness and their rhythm and their chemistry going that we’re going to need as we go down the road,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers pointed the finger at his bench players.

“It’s rare when you lose by 18 points and your starters all have a plus,” he said. “That doesn’t happen very often. The bench has been good, but tonight they were awful.”

Toronto took a 16-point lead in the third quarter, and the Clippers trimmed it to four before the Raptors extended the margin to 22 points during the fourth.

“The starters came back in and cut it to four, we subbed out and it went back to 20, so it was just one of those nights,” Rivers said.

The Clippers (28-16) struggled at the free-throw line, going 18-for-30.

The Raptors, who were 18-for-26 from the line, had seven players score in double figures.

Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points and eight rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points for the Raptors, ending his string of three consecutive games with 30 or more points.

Terrence Ross contributed 18 points, Cory Joseph added 12, Patrick Patterson had 10, and reserve center Bismack Biyombo finished with 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

DeRozan gave credit to the contribution from the reserves.

“It was big,” he said. “This whole week and a half, the bench has been great for us, honestly. We have taken advantage of it, and that’s been great with the balance that we’ve been able to sustain throughout these past couple of games.”

Chris Paul scored 23 points and distributed 11 assists for the Clippers. J.J. Redick added 17 points, and DeAndre Jordan scored 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds.

“Turnovers and then we couldn’t stop them from scoring,” said Clippers reserve forward Jamal Crawford, who had three points in 19 minutes.

“That falls on us. It’s nothing that the coaching staff did. The first unit did their job. That’s the second unit, we’ve got to be better.”

The Clippers lost for only the third time in the past 15 games, but those defeats came in the past five games. They are 11-3 without injured forward Blake Griffin.

Los Angeles had an 8-0 run in the first quarter and opened a 13-point lead before ending the quarter with a 34-27 advantage.

“We gave up 34 in the first quarter and I thought it was going to be a long night,” Casey said. “The second unit came in, Terrence (Ross) and that group changed the game, started getting into bodies and getting into players, being physical.”

The Raptors scored the first seven points of the second quarter to tie the game. Toronto ran off 10 more points in a row to lead 44-35. Lowry’s 3-pointer had the Raptors ahead 54-40. Toronto was in front 62-49 at halftime and had 32 points off the bench.

“It’s tough,” Paul said. “To get off to the start we got off to and to let those guys back into the game, we just never recovered. ... It’s not about the first unit or the second unit, it’s about our team. There have been nights when the starters have come out and haven’t played well and the second unit has brought us back.”

After the Raptors led by 16 points early in the third quarter, the Clippers reduced their deficit to six points on a 3-pointer by forward Paul Pierce. Jordan followed with a layup to cut the deficit to four. DeRozan’s 3-pointer closed the third quarter and gave Toronto an 83-71 lead.

Ross hit a 3-pointer with 8:37 left in the game to put the Raptors into an 18-point lead. A hook shot from Valanciunas bumped the lead to 20.

“Moving the ball on the offensive side and getting a couple of stops on the defensive end,” Patterson said. “All of us just communicating on the defensive side, and I think tonight was probably one of our best games collectively as a second unit.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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