Los Angeles Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors
Air Canada Centre
4:00 p.m. PST
February 6, 2015
ESPN/ Fox Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
1. Both the Raptors and the Clippers lost to the Nets this week, for which team was the loss more troublesome?
Blake Murphy, Raptors Republic, (@BlakeMurphyODC): I don’t think the loss is that troublesome for the Clippers, who lost Redick and just generally had a poor outing. Wednesday’s game for Toronto was just one game, too, obviously, but stood to back up a lot of concerns that were beneath the surface during the team’s recent six-game winning streak. Basically, the Raptors haven’t played well since late December but have benefited from an easy stretch of schedule. An ugly loss to Brooklyn – less than a week after coughing up a 17-point lead to that same team and needing overtime to win – affirms that Toronto has lost its way some.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): Man, we’re really putting down the Nets here. The Clippers lost a close game because they couldn’t hit a free throw. Toronto shares a conference with Brooklyn, though. They’re in the same division, and the Nets ended their season. So it’s a bigger deal that Toronto still struggles with the Nets even though the teams appear to be headed in different directions.
Roscoe Whalan, (@RoscoeWhalan7): The Clippers capitulated against the Nets on a scale that hasn’t been seen since a certain Game 5 last season. Besides the harrowing mental flashback the loss was troublesome in the grand scheme of the Clippers eight-game road trip. In light of the fact that they were completely outplayed in Cleveland last night, dropping winnable games against teams with losing records hurts in the ever-brutal Western Conference.
2. Should we get used to Terrence Ross coming off of the bench long-term?
Murphy: I’m not sure about long-term. He hasn’t really been any better on defense since his demotion but his offense has come around a bit, and the team needs him for spacing. Basically, the team has to start one of Ross, Greivis Vasquez or Patrick Patterson at one position lest they wreck their spacing, and re-inserting Ross for Vasquez requires the least shuffling of deck chairs if Dwane Casey wants a slightly more effective defensive look. Personally, I’d be willing to experiment with a James Johnson-Patterson three-four pairing (Amir Johnson has done nothing wrong, he just can’t start with a DeMar DeRozan-James Johnson wing pairing), but failing that, I’d rather Ross start than Vasquez.
Murray: Ross wasn’t an ideal fit in the starting lineup even last season. He didn’t exactly earn the role; Dwane Casey needed to start somebody after GM Masai Ujiri traded Rudy Gay for a bench last season. Ross didn’t stick as a starter this season, which isn’t a surprise. He’s an athletic shooter who has more value in a bench role due to his limitations as a playmaker, rebounder, and defender.
Whalan: For now, yes. Relegating Ross to the bench makes sense for a team in desperate search of its mojo. Ross is still young and has deficiencies – as a rebounder and in the defensive department but surely starting Greivis Vasquez in his place doesn’t help the Raptors resolve those issues. I’m not sure that this certain starting five with Vasquez will stick long-term but I don’t see Ross being the guy who replaces him.
3.Who’s more likely to win Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams or Jamal Crawford?
Murphy: Their raw production has been pretty much the same, with Williams owning a slightly higher PER but Crawford creating for teammates a little more. Williams also has a substantial positive impact on the Raptors whereas the Clippers are worse with Crawford on the floor, but that’s a terribly unfair comparison given the quality of the Clippers’ starters and the quality of players Williams generally shares the floor with. I’ll play the homer and give Williams a slight nod – in part because his resurgence and some voter fatigue for Crawford may make Williams the actual favorite – but I believe far less in Lou’s ability to maintain this level of play than J-Crossover’s.
Murray: Crawford, especially with J.J. Redick’s back flaring up. Williams had his period to shine more with DeMar DeRozan missing several weeks due to injury, but now DeRozan is back to help dominate touches with All-Star Kyle Lowry. Crawford’s volume numbers may get a similar spike to last year, when Redick missed months of time. Crawford would be the third player to win back-to-back awards (Kevin McHale, Detlef Schrempf), so it’s been done before.