Gay stars in Toronto debut as Raptors crush Clippers
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - The acquisition of Rudy Gay paid immediate dividends for the Raptors.
Gay, who came off the bench for his new team Friday night, led the way with 20 points in Toronto's 98-73 blowout of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors acquired Gay and center Hamed Haddadi on Wednesday from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard Jose Calderon, forward Ed Davis and a 2013 second-round draft pick. Memphis then sent Calderon to Detroit for forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
Gay made half of his 16 shots from the field and was helped by three other players in double figures, as the Raptors snapped a three-game slide. Amir Johnson had 19 points and tied a career-best with 16 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan chipped in 19 points and seven assists, while John Lucas III added 17 points.
"It felt great, it's exciting what they did today," Gay said of his warm reception by the fans at Air Canada Centre. "They make you want to play hard."
Blake Griffin had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who played the second contest of their eight-game Grammy road trip. Jamal Crawford totaled 14 points, but the Clippers lost for the fifth time in their last seven games.
Gay started strong by scoring seven first-quarter points. He entered the game with 5:10 left in the quarter, and just over two minutes later converted an alley-oop dunk off a pass from DeRozan. Gay added a second alley-oop jam with under a minute left in the stanza, just after he nailed a jumper, and ultimately provided the hosts with a 22-17 lead after 12 minutes.
Griffin's 1-of-2 effort from the foul line had the Clippers within 29-28 with 4:20 left in the half, but the Raptors then embarked on a period-ending 17-2 spurt.
DeRozan had nine points during the spurt, including a three-point play on a nice bounce pass from his new teammate. Gay delivered the ball to DeRozan on a fastbreak for a layup with 20.1 seconds remaining. DeRozan drew contact from Caron Butler and converted the free throw.
"DeMar is one of the best players I've ever played with," Gay said. "We're going to keep practicing together and get better setting these things up."
The Clippers went 3-of-15 from the field in the second quarter and didn't have an answer for Johnson or DeRozan, who combined for 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the period.
Toronto was ahead by at least 16 for the entire third quarter, which ended with high-fives after Gay nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to end the period. The buckets extended the margin to 72-45.
The lead ballooned to as high as 31 in the final quarter.
"We didn't execute very well. We didn't shoot very well," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Toronto did a great job in all areas. The bottom line, they were a step better, they were quicker on the glass. They loaded up on Blake. We need to bring more effort and enthusiasm the rest of this road trip."
The Clippers were held to a season-low in points ... Aaron Gray had 12 rebounds for Toronto ... Clippers point guard Chris Paul missed his sixth straight game due to a bruised right kneecap ... Clippers forward Matt Barnes sat out due to a one-game suspension for striking Minnesota's Greg Stiemsma in the neck in the second quarter of a 96-90 win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday ... The Raptors have won at home four straight times over the Clippers ... Toronto was 12-of-26 from beyond the arc, while LA was 3-of-19.
02/01 22:50:17 ET