Raptors get clipped in L.A.

Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin blocks a shot against Toronto Raptors shooting...

Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin blocks a shot against Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan on Sunday. (Gary A. Vasquez/US PRESSWIRE)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:49 PM ET

LOS ANGELES - Andrea Bargnani was still in civies Sunday afternoon and until that changes, the Raptors aren’t going to score enough to win.

Bargnani practised on Saturday with the team and he’ll practise again on Monday in Phoenix.

But without him in the lineup, the Raptors offence is toothless.

That is only amplified when your starters come out firing like they’ve never played the game before.

All told, the Raptors’ five starters Sunday were a combined 8-for-38 which is just over 21% shooting.

The Clippers, outside of Chauncey Billups had the opposite kind of day. Their starters, if you leave Billups who was an uncharacteristic 1-for-9 from the field, made good on 24 of their 38 attempts.

It all added up to consecutive loss No. 8, this one by a score of 101-86 to the Clips.

Once again the formula was a terrible first quarter followed by an improved second quarter and a less-than stellar third and fourth for the Raps.

The Raps have scored an average of 14.3 points in the first quarter in the six games since Bargnani went down with that calf strain.

Their opponents over that same stretch have got out to quick starts scoring an average of 26.5 in those first quarters which was helped Sunday by the 27-11 lead the Clips jumped out to.

ODE TO REGGIE

Listening to Dwane Casey before Sunday’s game, it was clear that were there any way he could have kept Reggie Evans with the Raptors this year, he would have.

“Reggie is one of my all-time favourites. I love him. He’s like a son,” Casey said.

Evans didn’t fit into the Raptors plans this season because of his veteran status and the price tag that comes with that. Casey understands but he’d like to have a little more of that Evans-type intensity on his own roster, no question.

“I fought for him to make the team in Seattle,” Casey said going all the way back to Evans’ rookie season in 2002.

“He was undrafted and we brought in him. I got in an argument with Wally Walker (Sonics President and GM) that day when we were deciding who we were going to cut. I said: ‘Look, we have nobody on our roster like this guy. He’s fearless, he is in every one on one drill and he has a nose for the basketball.”

That was 10 years ago and the very same thing can be said of Evans today.

As complimentary as he is of Evans, Casey also was willing to share Evans’ secret to success — outside the tireless work that is the staple of his game.

“I always say there’s a lot of things you have to have in basketball and one of those things is you have to have an act,” Casey said. “He has an act. He gets away with it. I love him, I was with him this summer at Rashard’s wedding, but he has an act. He can hold all day long in the paint and the referee is going to call it on the next guy because he’s good at it. He’s one of those guys you want on your roster and I think the Clippers are very fortunate to have him.”

As for Evans having to leave Toronto where he was a fan favourite: “We are in a different place than where the Clippers are,” Casey conceded. “They can absorb an older player like that. We are going tin a different direction and believe me if we weren’t he would be in the red and black.”

Quick Hits

Leandro Barbosa was sent hard into the second row early in the fourth quarter when Chauncey Billups refused to let him have the easy layup. Billups got a flagrant one for his efforts ... DeAndre Jordan played the role of LaMarcus Aldridge for those who saw Friday’s game and were watching football on Sunday. Aldridge went off for 33 points and 23 rebounds in the Portland win on Friday in Toronto. Jordan had a career high 13 rebounds in the first half against the Raps not to mention enough highlight reel dunks to fill Sportscentre’s top 10 by himself. Jordan finished the afternoon with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Finishing touches

Amir Johnson was limited to just eight minutes. He got into some early foul trouble but a sore thumb/hand kept him on the bench for all but a minute of the second half ... The Clippers are just the second team this season to score 100 on the Raptors. The only other was the Orlando Magic ... Just like in Toronto, they already love Evans here. Evans got his fourth foul with about three minutes left in the game and was sat down. The fans immediately started up the ‘Reggie, Reggie’ chant.


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