Gay has 20 in debut, Raptors rout Clippers 98-73
TORONTO — Rudy Gay wowed a sellout crowd by scoring 20 points in his Toronto debut, leading the Raptors to a 98-73 rout of the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
Amir Johnson had 19 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds for the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan also scored 19 as Toronto welcomed Gay with a winning effort two days after the high-scoring forward was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that included Detroit.
John Lucas scored 17 and Aaron Gray had seven points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who handed the Clippers their fourth straight loss in Toronto. Los Angeles has dropped five of its past eight overall.
Blake Griffin had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who were without point guard Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap) for the sixth straight game. Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes served a one-game suspension for striking Minnesota’s Greg Stiemsma on Wednesday.
Jamal Crawford scored 14, Caron Butler had 12 and Eric Bledsoe 10 as Los Angeles set season lows in points and field goal percentage (34.7). The Clippers’ previous low in points was 76, set at Brooklyn on Nov. 23, while their previous low in field goal percentage was 36.6, set Jan. 19 in a home win over Washington.
Toronto traded Jose Calderon and Ed Davis for Gay, who came off the bench in his Raptors debut but wasted little time exciting his new fans. He scored seven points in the first quarter, when he was on the receiving end of two alley-oop passes from DeRozan, as the Raptors built a 22-17 advantage after one.
Toronto led 29-28 with 4:20 left in the second before DeRozan scored nine points as the Raptors pulled away, closing the half on a 17-2 run to lead 46-30 at the break. The Clippers hurt themselves by making just three of 15 field goal attempts in the second quarter.
Gay’s only basket in the third was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave the Raptors a 72-45 edge heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas returned after missing 18 games with a broken right ring finger, but C Andrea Bargnani (right elbow) remains sidelined. Valanciunas went scoreless in 13 minutes. … Kyle Lowry had eight of Toronto’s 30 assists. … The Raptors have led after the first quarter in eight straight games. They are 3-5 during that span. … The sellout was Toronto’s fifth of the season.