LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Damian Lillard had 23 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers started their five game road trip in style in against the Toronto Raptors, 113-97 Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre.
Aldridge led the Blazers in scoring in the opening period with nine, but Portland got ahead by as many as nine with balanced scoring. Every Portland starter scored at least four points. On the other end, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 16 for Toronto, and their bench used a three point barrage to tie the game late in the quarter. Smooth dribbling by Chris Kaman and a dunk by CJ McCollum gave Portland a two point lead after one.
The teams traded the lead back and forth at the start of the second quarter, with both teams going into halftime shooting over 54% from the field. Portland seized control with the three point shot, with Arron Afflalo, Steve Blake, and Nicolas Batum hitting consecutive threes. Portland led by as many as 13, and took an 11 point advantage into halftime. Afflalo and Blake led all Blazers in scoring in the second quarter with six.
Lillard took control in the third quarter, shooting 4-of-7 for ten points and boosting Portland's lead to as many as 16. Toronto rallied on the back of Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas, who combined to shoot 7-of-7 for 14 points. A pair of threes late in the period by Blake and Dorell Wright shifted momentum back to the road squad, which led by 12 after three.
Portland's offense went ice cold to start the fourth, with three turnovers and a blocked shot in four possessions after a layup by Kaman. Afflalo hit a three to restart the offense, and Wright recorded a fast break jam to return the lead to 14. A second jam by Wright on a baseline drive, and a quick six points by Aldridge sealed the game.
Blake led the bench scoring with nine one game after recording seven assists and no other stats. He finished this game with just one assist. Batum finished with 10 points and 12 assists. Afflalo had 14 points, including 4-of-6 from three. Valanciunas scored 14 for Toronto on 7-of-7 shooting.
Another classic moment of Blazer Basketball:
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Thanks to all who participated in our Gameday Thread on a stormy Sunday night! Here were some of the favorite comments:
Did something happen to the Raptors? I thought they were killing it earlier in the season.
Meteor strikes harshed their mellow.
Really nice win. Controlled the entire second half against a good team.
by Roy Wonder
Do not operate heavy machiner or drive the lane while taking this medication.
by Eloi [After Alonzo Gee missed a breakaway dunk two days after oral surgery]
The Trail Blazers have shot 50% or better from the field in consecutive games for the first time this season. #PORatTOR— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) March 16, 2015
"He makes us elite. He's our X factor" - LaMarcus Aldridge on Nicolas Batum— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 16, 2015
The Trail Blazers have now won four straight games and 12 of the last 13 in the series against Toronto. #PORatTOR— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) March 16, 2015
LaMarcus Aldridge has recorded 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in 4 straight games vs. Toronto and 9 of the last 10 meetings. #PORatTOR— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) March 16, 2015
Dorell Wright and Chris Kaman arguing in the locker room over who would win in a fight. Dorell concedes strength, but he's got quickness— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) March 16, 2015
LaMarcus Aldridge had 5 assists. Four of them set up #Blazers threes.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) March 16, 2015
That's 10 straight double-doubles for @aldridge_12 vs. the Raptors. He seems to like playing against them.— Dan Sheldon (@DanSheldonCSN) March 16, 2015
Asked to describe in one word the way the team is playing and feeling, Lillard used the perfect word: "Together" #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) March 16, 2015
Great team win ! Next stop: Washington— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) March 16, 2015
"You want to peak towards the end of the season and I think right now we’re peaking at the right time." — LMA— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 16, 2015
"He’s been the Nic Batum that we’re all used to since the All-Star break." — Stotts— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 16, 2015