Preview: Clippers at Raptors
With Chris Paul still sidelined, Blake Griffin has been showing off some of his passing chops in recent games. Griffin looks to continue his generous January as he leads the Los Angeles Clippers into Toronto on Saturday night for a showdown with the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors. Griffin dished out seven assists to go along with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 112-95 win over the Chicago Bulls, while the Raptors are coming off a 104-95 triumph at Philadelphia.The Clippers haven't missed a beat without their injured franchise point guard, winning seven of their last nine games behind some sensational play from Griffin. The fourth-year power forward is averaging 25.4 points and 8.9 rebounds in 12 January games, while dishing out close to five assists in that stretch. He and the Clippers will be in for a tough test against a Toronto team that has won 16 of its last 24 games while boasting one of the league's best defenses.TV: 7 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), TSN (Toronto)ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (30-15): Griffin has heard the criticisms of his game since he was made the first overall pick in 2009. He has taken advantage of Paul's absence to show off his versatility, leading the Clippers to a 7-3 mark with his All-Star teammate out with a separated shoulder. "(I want to be) a leader for us, knocking down shots and being able to mix up my game, going inside when I felt the need to and going outside when I needed to," he told reporters after the win over the Bulls. Griffin was one of six Clippers to finish in double figures versus Chicago.ABOUT THE RAPTORS (22-20): Griffin isn't the only player showing off a more well-rounded game these days. Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry has reached new heights since the club traded small forward Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings and placed Lowry firmly in charge of the offense. The Philadelphia native had a night to remember in his hometown - scoring 18 points, dishing out 13 assists and hauling in 10 rebounds in Friday's victory - and has looked like one of the league's best point guards over the past two months.BUZZER BEATERS1. The teams have split the past six meetings, with the home side winning each time.2. Griffin averages 19.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in five career games versus the Raptors.3. Raptors SG DeMar DeRozan is averaging 24.9 points in January.PREDICTION: Clippers 104, Raptors 100
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