Despite losing Damian Lillard to injury while slogging through a five-game losing streak, the Portland Trail Blazers held their own against the visiting Toronto Raptors Monday night. But the second-best team in the East put together a late run to send the Blazers to their sixth straight defeat. If ever a loss could make a fan feel a bit more upbeat, this was it.
The Blazers were led by CJ McCollum, Mason Plumlee, Moe Harkless and Shabazz Napier.
The first half was ugly, but entertaining. With a renewed defensive vigor, the Blazers held the Raptors to 21 and 22 points in the first two quarters. Unfortunately, in Lillard’s absence, they could not score as easily.
Halftime: Toronto Raptors 43, Portland Trail Blazers 42
McCollum follows his own miss, gets the second chance bucket #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/ehbcGwUyof— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
We don't often pull opponents' highlights, but Terrence Ross vicious transition dunk is the exception pic.twitter.com/hnkMIw0UVG— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Blazers turn it over, end up getting a three out of it #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/f23UXL4K9U— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Harkless denies Powell at the rim #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/ixPnexWoj2— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
The third quarter featured plenty of dunks from the Blazers, most of them originating with McCollum and finished by Harkless. Portland kept things close, but after Toronto’s shaky first half, they started hitting their shots. As the three-pointers started to fall, the Raptors pulled ahead, including a buzzer-beater to give them a five-point lead after three.
Portland refused to give up in the fourth, as the bench unit regained the lead (despite a 360-degree dunk by Terrence Ross). The starters returned, and Aminu’s three-pointer put Portland ahead by three. Soon, neither team could make a shot, and therefore neither could gain a significant lead. Toronto took a five point lead, but McCollum cut it to two with 30 seconds left. The Raptors showed why they’re second in the East standings, as they found key shots and rebounds while they trudged through a tough night. It was the kind of ending you could have expected from the Blazers on the road circa 2014. The game was as upbeat as a Blazers fan could hope for in a sixth-straight loss.
Harkless takes a hard fall after transition dunk, flagrant 1 called #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/D9fdRVMXTR— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Plumlee sneaks out on the pick-n-roll to slam it home #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/Bugat37s1b— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Just how they drew it up: Vonleh get the second chance bucket #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/1pI36fjyum— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
McCollum goes behind the back, drives left-handed #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/LOt0O53IRL— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Aminu kicks it to CJ for the three, one possession game #RipCity #CSNBlazers pic.twitter.com/inZgKoCCzy— CSN Northwest (@CSNNW) December 27, 2016
Some more rest at home for the Blazers, and a rematch with the Sacramento Kings. Their last contest was sort of memorable, but this one is at Moda Center. Stay tuned tonight for more from Blazer’s Edge.