Last year, Blake Griffin didn’t have a great trip to Canada. Griffin punched an equipment manager and suffered a spiral fracture of his fourth metacarpal of his right hand last January in Toronto while sidelined with a quadriceps tear. The hand injury healed before the quad injury, but Griffin had to serve a suspension and pay a fine before returning. The whole situation was a black eye for Griffin and the Clippers organization.
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) January 27, 2016
Griffin can put this incident behind him after playing in Toronto, and he put in his 5th career triple-double. But Griffin’s play is merely a consolation prize at this point, as LA gave up 118 points in a loss to the Raptors. The Clippers are now 1-5 since Griffin returned to the lineup 13 days ago, allowing at least 107 points in each game.
Top Performer: Speaking of coming back from injury, Toronto got All-Star SG DeMar DeRozan (ankle) back after he missed 7 of the last 8 games. DeRozan gave the Clippers that work, scoring 20 of his 31 points in the first half. DeRozan even put in multiple (2) threes for the 5th time this season.
X-Factor: The Raptors dominated the Clippers from the FT line. Toronto made 26-of-29 FTs (89.7 percent), while the Clippers made only 12-of-18 FTs (66.7 percent). That’s a 14-point differential, the second-worst of the season for the Clippers behind only their December 30 game in Houston. DeRozan and All-Star teammate PG Kyle Lowry combined to make more FTs (14-of-16) than the Clippers did as a team.
Major Moments: The Clippers raced out to a 17-6 lead early in this game, but All-Star C DeAndre Jordan picked up his 2nd foul and had to sub out with 8:07 left in the 1st quarter. Over the last 7:50 of the 1st quarter, DeRozan went to work, scoring 13 points on 4-of-5 FGs during a 29-14 Toronto run. The Clippers lost the lead with Jordan on the bench, and they never saw it again after the 1st quarter.
Key Lineups: When backup Clippers C Marreese Speights was in with the starters, the Clippers were at their worst defensively. That 5-man unit (Felton-Redick-Rivers-Griffin-Speights) was outscored 21-13 in 7 minutes, failing to force a turnover and compiling a net rating of -70.1 and a defensive rating of -164.6.
Toronto’s best lineup was lightly used, but was a catalyst for turning the game around for the Raptors early: Lowry and DeRozan along with rookie starting PF Pascal Siakam and backups SF Terrence Ross and C Lucas Nogueira. In 3 minutes, that 5-man unit outscored the Clippers 16-5 while compiling a net rating of 164.0 and shooting 5-of-6 from the field.
The Definition: Griffin finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, and he made 2 of 3 threes – his 5th career game with multiple threes. But none of that matters with the Clippers playing worse defensively than any team in the league since January 24. In that span, only the Charlotte Hornets have forced fewer turnovers per game, and no team has allowed more assists. LA has allowed at least 107 points in every game Griffin has been back; the last time that the Clippers allowed 107 points in 6 straight games was November 2010, the last season that the Clippers missed the postseason.