The Clippers and Raptors have a lot in common -- great point guards, notable centres, some injury problems, inconsistent players, long time coaches. We could argue how closely all of these things line up, but the results for the two teams are shockingly close. The Clippers are 31-20, the Raptors are 31-21. This fact was not lost on either Dwane Casey and Doc Rivers, as both were asked about it pre-game.
Neither coach could really put their finger on what has been going on with their respective teams. We'll focus on the Raptors here, though. The team's struggles as of late have been well-documented by us (and a host of others). The defense has been all over the place, the offense has struggled in the absence of DeMar DeRozan (and shooting), and the early optimism surrounding this team has evaporated.
One of those three things will be addressed tonight: DeRozan is set to return to the lineup against the Clippers. I wish I could say Patrick Patterson will join him, but according to Casey, he's going to sit tonight. Apparently, Patterson took another shot to the knee and needs to be cautious once again.
In a similar way, Rivers acknowledged that everyone (minus Chris Paul) is ready to go for the Clippers. So we're at something of an impasse. The Raptors and Clippers find themselves in the middle of the pack, playing without key guys (yes, yes, I know Paul is more important than Patterson), and still trying to figure things out.
Who wins tonight? Let's watch.
Check out Dan Grant's preview here and then get in the comments.