Team defense rallies after trailing by 22 points against Clips
Call it the peek after the valley.
The Raptors showed the upside to inconsistency yesterday as they turned a 22 point deficit into a 15 point victory in Los Angeles, defeating the Clippers 104-89. As was the case in a victory against the Bulls earlier in the week, the Raps had to overcome an abysmal first half and rally to secure the win. Head coach Jay Triano, while pleased with the end result, still has no answers as to why the club shows a schizophrenic style of play thus far this season.
“We said we wanted to come out with three straight stops (in the first quarter) and we did and then they scored 15 straight (possessions) almost in the first quarter.
“I have no idea, I have no answers. Our coverages are where they’re supposed to be.
“It’s not a real high-energy group, but we find the energy as the game goes on, our offence starts to flow and we buy in at the defensive end.”
Amir Johnson was key in the comeback, pulling down 9 boards in 19 minutes of playing time while sharp shooter Marco Belinelli continued his stellar shooting with 15 points off the bench.
Belinelli, along with Antoine Wright, will force Triano to possibly rethink his decision to start hopeful rookie DeMar DeRozan at the point. DeRozan, who has better athleticism than both his backups, receives less minutes while in the starting role and has trouble containing opposing guards.
Meanwhile, the rest of Toronto’s starters carried most of the offensive load. Chris Bosh had his 7th double-double of the season scoring 21 points to go along with 14 rebounds, while Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon scored 19 and 18 points respectively. For Calderon, it was the second consecutive game he has scored 18 points, and it looks he may finally be in top form.
“I think with the repetitions of him playing more, he’s become a lot more comfortable,” Triano said of his starting point guard. “He seems to be a lot more confident.
“He struggled (early in the season) with his whole game. He wasn’t passing the ball the way he normally did and a lot of that was trying to figure out as the quarterback of this team who your players are, where to give them the basketball. He found that teams are starting to go under on screen and rolls and he’s making them pay.”
The raptors will head to Phoenix to play Steve Nash on the Suns on Sunday night.