NBA-best Clippers douse fiery Raptors rally from 17 points down to extend win run to three
Chris Paul helped keep the Clippers steady despite a fiery second half run from the Raptors. AP

THE Los Angeles Clippers dominated early then doused a fiery rally from the Toronto Raptors to come out with a 123-115 win on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) at the Staples Center.

The Clippers closed the first half with a 16-6 run to lead 54-45 at the break. Then Blake Griffin and Chris Paul combined for 20 in the third to negate DeRozan’s 13-point outburst to build a 17-point lead but the Raptors bench cut the gap down to five, 86-91, with a 19-7 blitz bridging the third and fourth periods.

JJ Redick and Patrick Patterson traded three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter to bring Toronto within four, 96-100, before the Clippers increased the lead to 12, 116-104, with 1:54 left on a triple and a three-point play by Paul. Lowry, who scored 14 points in the fourth, led a last-gasp rally to put the Raptors down by just four, 115-119, at the 25-second mark but Redick sealed the win the crucial makes from the stripe.

Griffin and Paul each had 26 points to lead the Clippers, who took solo lead in the league standings with a 13-2 card. JJ Redick added 20 built on three triples and nine free throws, while DeAndre Jordan finished with a double-double of 17 markers and 15 boards and even shot 9-of-14 from the stripe.

Lowry led the Raptors, losers of two in a row to fall to 8-6, with 27 points while DeRozan added 25. Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 15 markers, 12 in the first half, along with eight rebounds. 

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