Toronto: Rudy Gay made an instant impact in his first game with the Toronto Raptors on Friday, coming off the bench to score 20 points and lead his new NBA team to a 98-73 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors acquired Gay and centre Hamed Haddadi on Wednesday from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that saw Toronto ship out Ed Davis, and Spanish guard Jose Calderon. Calderon landed with the Detroit Pistons, who sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis.
Gay, energised by a warm welcome from fans at Air Canada Centre, made half of his 16 shots from the field.
“It felt great, it’s exciting what they did today,” Gay said. “They make you want to play hard.”
Three other Toronto players scored in double figures, including Amir Johnson who had 19 points to go with a career-best 16 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan added 19 points and seven assists and John Lucas scored 17.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Jamal Crawford chipped in 14 points, but the Clippers lost for the fifth time in their last seven games as they played without point guard Chris Paul - who missed his sixth straight game with a bruised right kneecap.
Los Angeles were also without forward Matt Barnes, who was suspended for the game by the NBA for striking Minnesota’s Greg Stiemsma in the neck in the second quarter of a victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.
Gay opened his Toronto tenure by scoring seven points in the first quarter.
He entered the contest with five minutes remaining in the period and little more than two minutes later finished off an alley-oop dunk off a pass from DeRozan.
Gay added a second alley-oop dunk as the first quarter was winding down.
He said he thought he and his teammates, in particular DeRozan, could mesh even better once they’d had more time to train together.
“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 Raptors led by at least 16 points for all of the third quarter and their lead grew to as high as 31 points in the final period as they held the Clippers to a season low in points.