USA TODAY Sports
Despite a wing shortage, the Portland Trail Blazers pulled away in the fourth quarter for a victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 30 points and 12 rebounds. JJ Hickson had another double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), and Nolan Smith and Sasha Pavlovic scored in double figures (11 and 10 points, respectively). Damian Lillard struggled in the first half, but picked up in the second half to add 9 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. His three-pointer streak ended, as the Blazers shot an insane 0-20 from three.
Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews were unable to play tonight. They were replaced in the starting lineup by Victor Claver (fresh from D-League!) and Pavlovic.
It's frustrating that high quality games like this arent on national tv.
Well, I can't comment on the first half, because I missed most of it. The Blazers took the lead in the second quarter, and it was still 4 at halftime. Rough first half, as even Lillard struggled against Toronto's defense.
I am digging that the younger players and rookies are getting a bit of run. But at times I am having a hard time not screaming a bit in frustration.
The second half was a pleasant surprise to start (considering the ugliness of the game!), with Portland taking a 14 point lead, mostly on the back of Aldridge. Somewhere along the way, Amir Johnson seemed to have what can only be termed a "hissy-fit" with a referee, causing his ejection. Afterward, the Raptors crawled back late, with a 9-0 run to pull within 5 after three.
Batum selectively chose not to play against Calderon, was probably worried about payback.
by Chuck Norriss
LaMarcus (who worked the pick to perfection with Damian) and Nolan helped push the lead back to 10 early in the fourth. Babbit even nailed a two handed dunk in the lane. Before long, the Blazers had a 15 point lead, and Toronto had no answers.
For more, visit Raptors HQ.
Dave will post his analysis of tonight's game later, then Ben will post the Media Row Report. We have a few days off after this, the next game is Thursday, a late TNT game against the San Antonio Spurs. -- Tim