The Blazers were led by All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge (27 points, 15 rebounds) and Damian Lillard (21 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds), with support from Nicolas Batum (18 points) and Wesley Matthews (21 points). DeMar DeRozan was red-hot in the second half, finishing with 36 points and 12 assists.
First Quarter: With a few days of rest, the Blazers looked like their old selves. Toronto took a timeout down 11-4. Portland looked ready to blow it open, but they just couldn't hit their shots. Toronto tried to stay close, but when Batum and Aldridge played a beautiful two-man game for a layup, Portland's lead reached 11. The lead might have been bigger, but Mo Williams played the role of goat in the quarter, with his three fouls giving Toronto life they might not otherwise have. But Aldridge tallied a double-double to lead the team.
Portland 31, Toronto 19
Ugh we missed 2 shots in a row. Did the Raptors figure out our offense????
Second Quarter: The Blazers picked up the defensive intensity, and found themselves quickly up 16. But something... weird happened. Suddenly, a ton of calls went against the Blazers. A lot. Offensive fouls, defensive, traveling, everything. Despite missing free throws, this stretch allowed the Raptors to close to single digits. It also angered both Matthews and Coach Terry Stotts, whom each picked up technical fouls. That just fired up the Blazers, as Damian brought the crowd to their feet with a monster dunk, and the lead reached 15 again. However, both teams had foul trouble, as 4 Blazers and 2 Raptors already were saddled with three fouls, a side effect of the insane 30 fouls called in the first half.
Portland 57, Toronto 40
Batum bounced that pass into Freeland's junk. What’s his obsession with the huevos?
by Reasonable Approximation
He really takes ball movement seriously.
Third Quarter: Two minutes into the quarter, Wes and Robin both picked up their fourth fouls, but couldn't buy a call at the other end. Shortly after, the Raps were picking up their fourth fouls. Both teams looked completely bewildered, as the refs were personally stopping the game flow and pushing players to the bench for both teams. Portland kept control for a while, but Toronto's makeshift lineup made a run against Portland's, cutting the lead to 12 and forcing a timeout. It didn't help, as Portland's shots stopped falling, and the red-hot Toronto closed to within 6. The crowd looked increasingly frustrated and angry, as Toronto hit 7 of their last 8 shots, including a DeRozan three-point play cut the lead to 5. Lillard and Williams hit back-to-back three-pointers late to maintain some semblance of control.
Portland 83, Toronto 74
I can't remember the last time the Raps missed
Fourth Quarter: Matthews opened the quarter with another three-pointer, followed by a Lopez layup (both assisted by Mo) to restore a 14 point Blazer lead. Toronto tried to make a run, but when Lillard found Matthews in the corner, his three-pointer pushed the lead to 17 again. But DeRozan's hot shooting kept the Raptors within the comeback zone. They kept the lead at 11 at the halfway point of the quarter. DeRozan hit a three-pointer to close within 8. Patterson made it a 6 point game with 4 minute left. Aldridge missed, and Patterson hit another jumper to cut the lead to 4 with 3 minutes left, as the crowd groaned... then Aldridge was called for an offensive foul. Lowry responded by hitting a three-pointer to cut the lead to 1. At this point, the Raptors had scored on nearly every possession in the quarter. They simply couldn't miss.
Out of a timeout, Batum badly missed a jumper, but so did Toronto. Portland missed again, as did Toronto, but they were able to recover the offensive board. They missed again, and again got the offensive board, but immediately committed an offensive foul. Aldridge again missed a jumper, and at the other end, DeRrozan drew a foul on Damian. He hit both free throws to give Toronto a 1 point lead, their first of the game. The cold Blazers desperately needed to hit a shot, with 25 seconds remaining.
The Blazers went to Lillard, who was fouled on the drive. The refs chose not to give free throws... so Lillard drove again and floated in a bank shot to give the Blazer the lead with 12 seconds left. Out of the timeout, DeRozan tried to drive, but Matthews tied up the ball. With 8 seconds, they jumped it up, and the Raptors recovered. They called timeout to set up a final play, and the Blazers picked up the defense on DeRozan... who was hassled into dribbling the ball off his foot! Batum got free throws, and Portland held on for an exhausting, hard-fought victory.
The Blazers have a long plane ride to the East Coast, and start a 4-game road trip in Washington DC Monday, at 4pm Pacific time.
In the meantime, Dave has more analysis soon, and Ben will have his Media Row Report later tonight.
And Blazers owner Paul Allen has a huge day tomorrow. We'll have a GDT live here at BE, but the GDT's over at Field Gulls should be epic.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night:
Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! As always, here are the most popular comments, based on the number of Rec's from their fellow fans: