Gay scores 20, wows crowd in Toronto debut
The way Blake Griffin saw it, a sloppy effort by the Los Angeles Clippers only made things easier for Rudy Gay and the fired-up Raptors...
AP Basketball Writer
TORONTO — The way Blake Griffin saw it, a sloppy effort by the Los Angeles Clippers only made things easier for Rudy Gay and the fired-up Raptors.
Gay wowed a sellout crowd by scoring 20 points in his Toronto debut, leading the Raptors to a 98-73 rout of the short-handed Clippers on Friday night.
"The way we played had a big effect on their flow," Griffin said. "Not to take anything away from them — they did a good job — but our defense was terrible."
The Clippers were pretty terrible on offense, too, setting season lows for points and field-goal percentage (34.7). Los Angeles' previous low in points was 76 at Brooklyn on Nov. 23, while its previous low in field-goal percentage was 36.6 on Jan. 19 in a home win over Washington.
"We didn't execute very well. We didn't shoot it very well," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We struggled in a lot of areas."
Amir Johnson had 19 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds for the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan also scored 19 as Toronto welcomed Gay with a winning effort two days after the high-scoring forward was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that included Detroit.
"It felt great to be accepted like I (was) today," said Gay, who got a standing ovation before checking in for the first time. "It just makes you want to play hard."
John Lucas scored 17 and Aaron Gray had seven points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who handed the Clippers their fourth straight loss in Toronto and their largest defeat of the season.
"Our guys came in locked and loaded," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Griffin had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who were without point guard Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap) for the sixth straight game. Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes served a one-game suspension for striking Minnesota's Greg Stiemsma on Wednesday.
The absences forced the Clippers into some new-look lineups, but the juggling didn't help.
Jamal Crawford from Rainier Beach High School scored 14 points for Los Angeles, which has dropped five of eight.
• Pau Gasol had 22 points and 12 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup and Kobe Bryant had 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-100 victory over the host Minnesota Timberwolves.
• Al Jefferson had 21 points, including two one-handed shots in the lane to clinch the victory, as the host Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 86-77.
• David West scored 30 points to lead the host Indiana Pacers to a 102-89 win over the Miami Heat. The Pacers have won 13 in a row at home. Miami was led by LeBron James with 28 points.
• Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and the host New York Knicks extended their winning streak to three with a 96-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
• Mike Conley scored 18 points and Tayshaun Prince added 14 in his Memphis debut, including a pair of key fourth-quarter jumpers, as the host Grizzlies defeated the Washington Wizards 85-76.
• Ty Lawson had 21 points and 13 assists, Andre Iguodala scored 24 and the host Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Hornets 113-98 for their sixth straight victory.
• The Boston Celtics said first-round draft choice Jared Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disk surgery and will miss the rest of the season.
• Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Danny Granger could be back on the court before the All-Star break in mid-February.
• NBA players put union chief Billy Hunter on indefinite leave, two weeks after a report they commissioned questioned Hunter's leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices. Hunter's attorney responded that the action wasn't allowable, setting up a fight for Hunter to keep to his job.