L.A. Clippers at Toronto Raptors
Air Canada Centre
February 1, 2013
4:00 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
How streaky is this team? After losing four in a row, the Clippers have now won two straight. They started off their eight-game road trip in proper fashion, disposing of the Timberwolves on Wednesday night. Now it’s onto Toronto and 3-on-3:
1. Did the Raptors come out victorious in their recent three-team deal? (Gave up Jose Calderon and Ed Davis. Received Rudy Gay.)
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): No. They got the short end of the stick. For as talented as Gay is, he isn’t a franchise player, even though he’s paid like one. Calderon was good as gone, but Davis was a keeper – it looks like he’s going to be a good starter one day.
Andre Han, (@andrewthehan): If trades are not a zero-sum game, then yes. Future flexibility and roster fit aside, Toronto technically received the best player in the trade. Whether or not the composition of their team and payroll ledger makes sense, that’s something else.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): No, if only because it makes little-to-no sense to block the eighth overall pick (Terrence Ross, who is on a rookie deal) with an overpaid player who is good – maybe very good – but not great.
2. Who is Toronto’s biggest threat tonight?
Buha: Rudy Gay. If he doesn’t play (it’s unknown, but looks like he might), then Kyle Lowry. Or DeMar DeRozan. I’m not sure. Can I just pick no one? It’s not like the Raptors have much to choose from.
Han: Kyle Lowry. Maybe Rudy Gay plays tonight, maybe not. But the Clippers have struggled to contain sweet-shooting guards that can get into the lane. And defensively, Lowry is much better than Calderon.
Katz: Rudy Gay – if he plays. With Matt Barnes suspended for tonight’s game, that means Grant Hill and Caron Butler will have to take over most of the wing defending duties. We are yet to see Hill play major minutes and with Gay feeling revitalized in a new situation, he could get off to a hot start in Toronto.
3. Is this a trap game?
Buha: I think most games against lesser opponents are mistakenly labeled “trap” games, but yes, this is a trap game. The Raptors reportedly were only going to have 10 guys suit up (now 11 with Gay), so the Clippers may accidentally underestimate them.
Han: After several losses to the dregs of the NBA, the Clippers should never again be caught in trap games. That being said, the absence of Chis Paul and Matt Barnes (suspended one game) should help focus L.A.’s resolve if any “trapiness” lingered heading into this game.
Katz: The Clippers have lost to enough second-division teams to know they have to get up for every game, big or small – trap or nontrap. So no, I doubt this will be a trap game.