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Crawford leads Clippers past Ross, Raptors

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TORONTO — Guard Jamal Crawford said he was in such a groove that he felt he might have been able to reach 50 points in the Los Angeles Clippers 126-118 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

But the game dictated otherwise and he started to dish off more and he left it to Raptors guard/forward Terrence Ross to reach the magic number by equaling the club record set by guard Vince Carter on Feb. 27, 2000, with 51 points.

Crawford, who had 26 points in the first half, did finish with a season-best 37 points, shooting 12-for-23 from the field, and added 11 assists. Forward Blake Griffin added 30 points as the Clippers (31-15) won their second game in two nights.

“Honestly I think this could have been a 50-point night because you kind of know when you have it,” said Crawford, whose career best is 52 points. “This could have easily been a 50-point (night). But the way the game went they started doubling me more and I started finding my teammates more.”

Ross tied Carter’s record with four seconds left in the game but missed the second one that would have given him the record.

Ross said he never scored 50 in a game.

“No, it’s my first time past 30,” Ross said. “It feels good. You don’t think about it. When you’re trying to win the game you don’t realize how many points you have until it’s all over.”

Ross was 16-for-29 from the field, including 10-for-17 from 3-point range and 9-for-10 in foul shots.

“I just focused on being ready to play,” he said. “My teammates had confidence in me, every time I was open they passed it to me and I shot because that’s what they want me to do. Just catch it and shoot.”

The game was tied at 93 after Ross ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer.

When center Jonas Valanciunas made a dunk with 6:35 to play in the game, Toronto (22-21) led 107-106 , but guard J.J. Redick, who was out for most of the first half with back spasms, came back with a 3-pointer to return L.A. to the lead. Guard Darren Collison and Redick then hit consecutive jumpers and the Clippers led 113-107 with 5:01 to play ad grabbed control of the game.

“It was an interesting game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Sometimes it’s about winning the game and that’s what happened tonight. We found a way on an unconventional night to win the game.”

Ross had 23 points and seven 3-pointers in the first half and started driving more to the basket.

“That was a good adjustment on his part,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “They were running at him. He wasn’t going to get a 3 all of a sudden so he did a good job of reading what the defense gave him and got to the free throw line also.”

“He has confidence,” Rivers said of Ross. “He’s one of those young guys … they just need to get going. He’s been up and down. But you could just see that he got a couple to go and the rim was really big for him.”

The Clippers got 18 points from Redick, including 10 in the fourth quarter after he came back to start the third quarter following his injury. Guard Darren Collison added 12 points and forward Matt Barnes scored 11 for the Clippers.

Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 10 points for the Raptors in slightly more than 21 minutes before he left the game with a sprained left foot in the third quarter and did not return. Casey said X-rays were negative. Casey said forward Patrick Patterson also suffered a broken nose.

Valanciunas added 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Toronto while guard Kyle Lowry had 11 points and 12 assists.

The Clippers ended a four-game losing streak at Air Canada Centre, where they had not won since Feb. 8, 2008.

The Clippers opened up a 117-108 lead when Griffin made a jumper and a layup on driving plays with less than four minutes left. Griffin scored again to give the Clippers at 121-112 lead with two minutes to go. Lowry made only one of three free throws and Redick made another 3-pointer to increase the lead to 11.

The Clippers stretched a six-point halftime lead to 12 when Barnes hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the third quarter. But the Raptors responded with a 13-0 run capped by consecutive dunks by Ross for a 78-77 lead with 5:55 left in the quarter.

NOTES: Raptors F Tyler Hansbrough (left ankle) missed his 13th consecutive game with a bone bruise that first was first reported as a sprain. … After their win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday, the Clippers were 7-3 without G Chris Paul (right shoulder), who was injured Jan. 3. … The triple-double by G Kyle Lowry (18 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists) in the win over the 76ers in Philadelphia on Friday night was the fourth of his career and the 14th in Raptors history. … Clippers F Blake Griffin entered Saturday averaging 26 points in his previous 20 games during which the team was 14-6. … The Raptors’ next game will be Monday when they visit Brooklyn to play the Nets. … The Clippers end a seven-game trip in Milwaukee on Monday that has them traveling approximately 11,275 miles.