The Toronto Raptors never gave up, but LaMarcus Aldridge placed the Portland Trail Blazers on his back and carried the team to a 10 point victory. In the process, he became the sixth Blazer to reach 30+ points with 20+ rebounds. This won't be on a highlight reel of Blazer wins, but they'll take it.
Aldridge finished with 33 points, 23 rebounds and 5 assists, while a hot-shooting Raymond Felton (14 points and 5 assists) and the returning Marcus Camby (10 rebounds) provided support.
The Raptors started the game well, taking a quick 4-0 lead. Then the Blazers realized the game started, handed the ball to LaMarcus, and quickly scored 11 straight points. Blazer turnovers kept Toronto in the game, but Camby's 9 rebounds and 2 assists prevented any comeback. By the end of the first, the Blazers led comfortably by 13.
The teams play some back-and-forth in the second quarter, as Nolan Smith officially becomes the backup PG. They pushed the lead to 21 halfway through the quarter as LaMarcus Aldridge utterly destroyed Toronto with a first-half double-double. But then the Blazers got complacent. The Raptors, using their zone defense, cut the lead to 15 at the half. [Video: Crawford with a monster first-half dunk]
The Blazers continued to play with no spirit as the Raptors piled on, pulling to within 5 points as Blazer fans placed their head in their hands. And this was just in the first four minutes! After a timeout, the Blazers settled down, remembered LaMarcus was on the court, and soon the lead was 15. Unforced turnovers prevented the lead from expanding, and the Raptors took advantage, staying within 11 after three.
The fourth quarter began with a Blazer attempt to put Toronto away, but the Raptors would have none of it, staying within single digits. The Blazers never reached a comfortable lead, but stayed far enough ahead for the clock to eventually run out.
Read the box score, then hang out here and stay tuned for Dave's recap. The next game is tomorrow afternoon, finishing the road trip in Detroit. -- Tim