The Toronto Raptors are hoping the addition of Rudy Gay will propel them into the playoff mix and could have their new piece Friday night versus the Los Angeles Clippers at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors acquired Gay and center Hamed Haddadi on Wednesday from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for guard Jose Calderon, forward Ed Davis and a 2013 second-round draft pick. Memphis then sent Calderon to Detroit for forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
"This is the type of deal we have been looking for to take our team another step forward," Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo said. "Rudy Gay is a dynamic wing that elevates our talent level significantly.
"We want to thank Jose and Ed for their dedication and service to our organization. Both individuals are wonderful young men beyond just talented basketball players."
Over 42 games this season, Gay has averaged 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists. The 26-year-old, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, has produced career averages of 17.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest.
Toronto is currently 11th in the Eastern Conference standings and will begin a three-game homestand Friday versus the Clippers, Heat and Celtics. The Raptors have lost three in a row and eight of the last 10 games, including Wednesday's 93-92 loss at Atlanta. Al Horford scored the go-ahead basket with 21.5 seconds left to lift the Hawks, while DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 23 points and John Lucas III netted 19 off the bench.
Kyle Lowry, whose shot near the end was blocked by Horford, ended with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Toronto, which shot 38.8 percent from the floor and made only 9-of-22 3-pointers. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey expressed his displeasure about the officiating afterward.
"I'm tired of this. I'm tired of losing games because of missed calls at the end of the game. I know the league is going to come down on me but I don't care. These guys have fought their hearts out," Casey lamented. "It has happened too many times. I've been in this league 18 years and have never seen so many missed calls at the end of the game. We have great officials in this league and they are too good to miss calls and short change us like that. It's not right."
Casey's club is 11-11 north of the border this season and finished the month of January with a 5-10 record. DeRozan averaged 15.7 ppg last month.
Los Angeles aims for a third straight win when it resumes an eight-game Grammy road trip Friday. The Clippers opened the trek with a 96-90 victory Wednesday at Minnesota as Blake Griffin recorded a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way.
Caron Butler scored 19 points, Jamal Crawford had 17 and DeAndre Jordan finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who have won two straight on the heels of a four-game skid and are 14-8 as the visitor.
"Good team win for us," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have to do a better job of making the game easier with ball movement, making some shots and being a little more consistent defensively, but it's a good way to start the trip."
Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul missed his fifth straight game with a bruised right kneecap and has been sidelined eight times in the last 10 games (5-3). He is listed as a game-time decision against the Raptors and is averaging 16.6 points and 9.7 assists this season.
Eric Bledsoe has been filling in for Paul and posted 10 points, 10 assists and six steals in the win over the Timberwolves. He has started every game Paul has missed and has scored 10 or more points in seven of those contests. In two seasons, the Clips are 8-6 in 14 games Paul has missed.
Los Angeles still has the Celtics, Wizards, Magic, Heat, Knicks and Sixers remaining on the lengthy road trip -- the longest since 2010-11 when it went 2-9 on an 11-game odyssey from Feb. 4-25, 2011.
The Clippers defeated the Raptors in the first meeting between the teams by a 102-83 score at Staples Center on Dec. 9 and have won the last three matchups in this series. Toronto, though, is unbeaten in the previous three games as the host.