This one will be short and sweet. The Clippers took an 8-6 lead at the 8:34 mark of the 1st quarter and never trailed again. And, after a Powell three at the 9:38 mark of the 2nd quarter that put them up 40-28, their lead never went below double digits the rest of the way. This was truly the definition of a comfort win, with James Harden the only Clipper to log a sizable number of minutes. The Raptors without Jakob Poeltl and Immanuel Quickley were at a sever talent disadvantage, and the Clippers did not let up.
Harden Dominates: The Clippers got strong performances across the board, but their clear top player in this one was the Beard, who had 22 points on 14 shots, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists (to just one turnover) in his 35 minutes with a team-leading +27. Harden got wherever he wanted, made passes to whoever he wanted, and was just in complete control. A great, efficient outing for Harden, albeit against weak competition.
Plumlee Steps Up: Mason Plumlee hasn’t had many big performances since he returned to the rotation a few weeks ago, but he did have a very nice outing tonight, putting together a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double in just 25 minutes. The Raptors started Thad Young at center, to be fair, but these are the kinds of games where the Clippers need Plum to be a force on the glass on both ends, and he was in this one.
Showdown Tomorrow: It’s good the Clippers got a comfortable win tonight, because tomorrow’s game against the Celtics might be the toughest “schedule” game the entire season. On the road, on the second night of a back-to-back, against the best team in the NBA with a rest advantage? Yep, that’s a toughie. Hopefully the Clippers at least make a good game of it.