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Clippers withstand Raptors comeback, win 104-98

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The baby Raptors provided a dose of intrigue in the team’s third preseason outing.

NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While most of Toronto was feeling a sports hangover on Wednesday night (thanks, Edwin), the Raptors were in Los Angeles for a late night showdown with the Clippers.

Fresh off losing to the Warriors by 45(!!) on Tuesday, LA showed some hunger early on, leading by as many as 20 in the first half. The fourth quarter was a different story, though, as a very young Toronto lineup made it interesting.

Yes, believe it or not, a lineup led by Brady Heslip (Canada flag emoji), Bruno(!) Caboclo, and Bebe Nogueira took the Raps on a 19-0 run, even seizing a one-point lead at the three-minute mark. Heslip, in his first preseason action, made his first four shots and finished 5-of-6 with 13 points, showing off his gorgeous shooting stroke. Bruno had a few of his patented almost-steals, pairing well on defense with his Brazilian buddy Bebe.

In the end, though, the youth showed. A couple ugly Toronto possessions with the clock winding down sealed LA’s win, which was keyed by 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists from Blake Griffin. Chris Paul had 15 assists in 27 minutes, tearing apart a lackadaisical Raptors defense in the first-half, who were playing without Kyle Lowry (rest) and Jared Sullinger (sore foot).

The Raptors get a bit of time off now — a second training camp, more or less — before resuming preseason action against the Cavaliers on October 13. Here are a few other observations from this one:

  • Terrence Ross fell down to earth a little after his 23-point outburst against the Nuggets. He was 1-for-6, but all the promising signs are still there. In his first touch, he put his head down and drove to the basket, finishing for an and-1. There’s also this (ridiculous) stat:
  • Hoo boy, Pascal Siakam. A seven-point, three-rebound stat line doesn’t do justice to his impact, which is plain fun to watch as he sniffs out the ball at every opportunity. In the second half, he pounced on a couple 50-50 plays, and had a great putback dunk in the fourth. He’s in line for a rotation spot, and looks every bit a Dwane Casey man crush candidate.
  • DeMar DeRozan won’t be the last point come regular season, but he was excellent in 18 minutes of first half play. 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, going 4-for-5 at the line, he was abusing Austin Rivers’ defense and getting to all his spots. When the jumper is falling, he’s a joy to watch.