The Clippers fell into the abyss -- or in this case, the Bosh Pit -- and they simply could not get out Monday night despite a spirited third-quarter effort.
Chris Bosh scored 18 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Toronto Raptors beat the Clippers, 97-75, at Staples Center to end a five-game losing streak. The Raptors' Jermaine O'Neal had plenty to do with the victory too, but the O'Neal Pit doesn't have quite the same ring.
It was never going to be easy for the Clippers under the best of circumstances against the intimidating duo, the 6-foot-11 O'Neal and 6-10 Bosh as they combined for 54 points. Not with Marcus Camby far away from Staples Center because of the death of his father. And certainly not with Zach Randolph picking up two fouls before the game was five minutes old and then getting injured in the fourth quarter.
The Clippers trailed by 19 points at the half, cut the Raptors' lead to six early in the fourth quarter but still suffered their 20th loss in 28 games this season.
The Clippers shot 33% from the field and were outrebounded, 48-38.
It was a particularly rough day, even by Clipper standards.
Randolph suffered an injury 1:16 into the fourth quarter, tumbling to the floor, joining teammate DeAndre Jordan, who already had landed hard. Both were trying to deal with the Bosh onslaught.
It was evident fairly quickly that Randolph was injured when he grabbed his knee in pain. He went back to the locker room and did not return.
Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy reported Randolph suffered a sprained left knee. The good news, Dunleavy said, is that the X-rays are negative.
"Bosh pushed me in the back, yeah," Randolph said. "Hopefully, it's just a bone bruise, so I'm just going to ice it in the next couple of days. It's just a little sore."
And, just like that, there went the offense, considering in three of the last five games, Randolph had scored 30 or more points. He had 19 points in 28 minutes against the Raptors.
Adding to the Clippers' woes, Camby left the team after taking part in the morning shoot-around. He is not expected to be gone for an extended period, and the Clippers don't play again until Sunday against Dallas.
His absence meant Brian Skinner was pressed into the starting lineup, and he had one point in 16 minutes and three rebounds. Rookie guard Eric Gordon had 19 points and Baron Davis added 16 points and nine assists but had six turnovers, five in the first quarter.
"Unfortunately we couldn't throw the ball in the ocean," Dunleavy said. "Our guys kept coming back and making runs. In the second half, we made another big run and cut it to six. But ultimately it's five games in seven nights for us.
"Without having our anchor [Camby] in the low post against a team like Toronto that relies on Bosh and O'Neal in the low-post game, to be missing your best low-post defender is kind of tough."
Rookie point guard Mike Taylor, who fractured his right thumb Friday against Indiana, will have surgery today and could miss as much as eight weeks.
"Things happen. It's part of the game," Taylor said. "It's my first time going through it. I've been talking to some of the veterans and they're telling me it is part of the game.
"I was going for a loose ball and kind of lost my balance. I was going to break my fall with my hands and kind of hit the floor."
This, of course, led to the usual questions about the black clouds hanging over this beleaguered Clippers franchise.
"There's certain situations you have no control over. They are what they are," Dunleavy said. "I'm not a believer in the black cloud. . . . "