Fred VanVleet puts up 31 as Raptors top Clippers

Dec 31, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots the ball over Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard (5) and guard Terance Mann (14) in the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Fred VanVleet scored 31 points and dished out nine assists as the host Toronto Raptors defeated the undermanned Los Angeles Clippers 116-108 Friday night.

Pascal Siakam added 25 points and matched his career best with 19 rebounds for the Raptors, who had lost their two previous games.

The Raptors had most of their players back from health and safety protocol, a list that had reached 10 last weekend.

OG Anunoby had 26 points and Gary Trent Jr. scored 10 for Toronto.

Marcus Morris Sr. scored 20 points for the Clippers, who have lost three of their past four. Terance Mann added 18 points and 11 rebounds, Reggie Jackson scored 17, Amir Coffey had 15 and Luke Kennard scored 13.

The Raptors led by as many as 15 points during the first quarter, but the Clippers took a five-point lead into the fourth.

The Raptors cut the deficit to one point on Anunoby’s running dunk with 9:19 to play in the contest, and his 3-pointer gave Toronto a two-point lead 32 seconds later.

The game was tied at 101 after Morris hit a jumper with 4:34 remaining.

Toronto led by four with 1:34 remaining after Chris Boucher sank two free throws and Siakam dunked. Mann answered with a 3-pointer, but VanVleet made a layup and then a 3-pointer to increase the lead to six with 25.2 seconds to go.

Toronto led 32-29 after the first quarter on the strength of an 18-0 run in an arena that was empty because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Clippers scored the first five points of the second quarter. Toronto pulled out to a five-point lead, but Jackson’s 3-pointer capped a 13-2 run to complete the first-half scoring and give the Clippers a 62-56 lead.

VanVleet scored six straight points, including a layup that tied the game with 3:41 to play in the third quarter. The Clippers responded with an 8-1 run, and they led 87-82 after three quarters.

Los Angeles’ Brandon Boston Jr., Ivica Zubac and coach Tyronn Lue (COVID-19 protocol) missed the game. Brian Shaw coached the Clippers.

Scottie Barnes (knee tendinitis) was out for Toronto.

There was a video tribute to the Clippers’ Serge Ibaka, a former Raptor, during the first quarter.

–Field Level Media

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