The opening 15 minutes of basketball play out beautifully for the Clippers, exactly how you’d construct a best case scenario against Toronto. Marcus Camby uses his agility and length to stay between Chris Bosh and the basket. Chris Kaman bullies Andrea Bargnani down on the block, getting plenty of space for his step-back jumper. Baron Davis finds seams in a defense that’s been both slow to fight through screens and flabby in the interior once the offense has broken the plane. Al Thornton works close to the basket to get high-percentage looks. And the Clippers perimeter defenders chase the Raptors’ snipers off the line.
The Clippers build a 22-point lead in the second quarter before taking their foot off the gas heading into halftime. Toronto begins to apply more precision to their pick-and-rolls in order to carve out more space for Bosh to work in the halfcourt. All it takes is a little spacing. By forcing the Clipper defenders to stay at home on the weak side, the Raptors enable Bosh to run wild in the second and third quarters.
The game is tied to begin the fourth quarter, then the Raptors begin to pull away. Here’s how the pivotial possessions of the final frame break down: