Following a comeback win to the Detroit Pistons, the LA Clippers complete the back-to-back with a victory against the Toronto Raptors. This game was full of memories for the slashing wing, Norman Powell, as he returned to the city that originally drafted him. Additionally, Powell utilized his emotions to fuel one of his season’s best performances.
Though he only played 23 minutes, Powell dropped 22 points, three assists, and three steals on 8-14 shooting. The superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George made this showing possible as they attracted a ridiculous amount of attention. The Raptors’ game plan appeared to be focused on Leonard, which left players like Powell more opportunities on both ends of the court.
However, George also had a strong performance: he finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists on five made three-pointers. Fans should also note that both Leonard and George played 35 minutes. This shows that head coach Tyronn Lue has eased up on his minute restriction and the amount of pressure he places on his two best players.
One player who needs to receive the credit he deserves is the score-first point guard Reggie Jackson. He plays significantly better when Leonard and George are healthy, and he shined once again with 20 points on 9-15 shooting.
The LA Clippers are finding their stride at the perfect time.
Although the win was imposing, the LA Clippers limited their mistakes in all aspects of the game. In addition to turning the ball over only nine times, the team shot 48.4% from the field and 39.5% from three. These percentages were a result of the attention Leonard drew as he finished with a season-high eight assists.
Furthermore, the game’s most valuable player should go to the post-dominant big man, Ivica Zubac. Not only did the seven-footer score 23 points, but ten of his 16 total rebounds were found on the offensive end. This created extra opportunities to find open shots around the perimeter, leading to easy buckets.
The LA Clippers played a perfect game from start to finish. This battle will likely go down as one of the best of the season for Lue and his squad. Despite the double teams, the coaching staff initiated plays for Leonard to utilize his instincts and find the open man.
Moreover, the Clippers get closer to the end of their road trip with a game against the Celtics. A win in TD Garden will significantly help Lue and his squad in the tight Western Conference. The coaching staff will hold this game in the hands of Leonard and George to use their powers and push their team to victory.