TORONTO — Don't get too high, don't get too low. That has been the Clippers' motto all season.
So after the low of all lows, a 98-73 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night at Air Canada Centre, Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin was asked if it still was easy to apply the team's principle.
"No, it's never easy really, but it's important for us to do, especially on an eight-game road trip," Griffin said. "It's only two games down. We've got six more to go. We can't hang our head and let the way we feel or let our emotions from this game affect us going forward."
A recurring theme in the Clippers locker room afterward was "energy," the players to a man saying they lacked it against a Toronto team that is only 17-30.
The Clippers were down by as many as 31 points in the fourth, their largest deficit of the season.
Their point total and field-goal percentage (34.7%) were season lows. They made 25 field goals, also a season low, in 72 attempts, and the 25-point margin was their biggest in a loss this season.
Eric Bledsoe missed 10 of 14 shots and scored 10 points. Caron Butler missed nine of 12 from the field in scoring 12 points, Griffin missed seven of 11 in scoring 17 points, and Jamal Crawford missed 12 of 17 on his way to 14 points.
That's how it went offensively for the Clippers, who had more turnovers (15) than assists (12). The assist total was a season low.
The franchise low in scoring was 63 points, during 1972-73 season when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves.
The Clippers averted that dubious distinction on a jumper by Crawford with 3 minutes 30 seconds left, giving them 64 points.
The outcome was all but decided by the end of the third quarter, when the Clippers trailed by 27 points. The Raptors capped off the quarter when newly acquired forward Rudy Gay drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer. Gay finished with 20 points on eight-for-16 shooting, three for six on three-point attempts.
The Clippers' 45 points were their fewest through three quarters since 2003.
"We just didn't have any energy," Griffin said.
The one-game suspension issued by the NBA to Matt Barnes on Friday for his elbow to the neck of Minnesota's Greg Stiemsma forced Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro to shuffle his lineup. At one point in the second quarter, Del Negro had Griffin, Crawford, DeAndre Jordan, Lamar Odom and Grant Hill in the game.
That didn't do any good. Neither did the zone defense the Clippers attempted. Or their man-to-man defense, for that matter.
And of course neither did their anemic offense. They scored only 13 points in the second quarter and shot 28.9% from the field in the first half, a season low for a half.
"Nothing worked very well tonight," Del Negro said. "I don't think any of the rotations or anything worked. Tonight, we just didn't have the energy."