A red hot Toronto team came to town to face a red hot Blazers team, in what has been one of the most unique and competitive rivalries in the NBA.
The Blazers withstood a scorching first quarter by the Raptors to go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league going into the final quarter. But, the Raptors showcased both their defensive tenacity and their offensive firepower. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors as they snap Portland's five-game win streak with a 110-103 victory, book-ending Portland's home stand with a couple of losses.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 27 points and 11 assists and CJ McCollum with 21 points. The Raptors were led by Kyle Lowry with 30 points and 8 assists and DeMar DeRozen with 29 points.
It was the Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan show early, as the two Toronto guards scored the first 18 points for the Raptors. It wasn't until
Russell Brand Luis Scola hit a three at just under the 5-minute mark that another Raptor scored. The Blazers managed to get Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo in early foul trouble, but the Raptor's backcourt kept Portland's own backcourt from getting anything going in their absence. Frustrations reached a boiling point late in the quarter as the Raptors were scintillating from three point land, hitting six of their first seven from beyond the arc and out muscling Portland 16-9 on the boards. Damian Lillard received a technical near the end of the quarter, giving an earful to the refs who seemed as off their game as the Blazers were.
End of First: Portland 25, Toronto 37
The Raptors jumped to a 43-27 lead, but the Blazers used a balanced attack to climb back, featuring ingredients such as a touch of CJ McCollum jumpers here and a dash Al-Farouq Aminu threes there, as the Raptors cooled off for an entire minute. Gerald (I'm just being showcased) Henderson once again provided a nice lift off the bench, quickly filling up the stat sheet as soon as he came in. Frustrated early, the Blazers went on a 8-0 run to cut the lead to 53-47 late. Despite how most of the first half went, the Blazers were in OK shape as they headed to the locker room to review the Zapruder film on how Mason Plumlee received that third foul midway through the quarter.
Halftime: Portland 59, Toronto 51
Portland continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, but it seemed every time the Blazers were about to make a serious run, the Raptors would come away with a defensive stop. However, the Blazers' defense matched Toronto's in effort and energy, nothing more beautiful than Lillard's block of Lowry midway through the quarter. Allen Crabbe hit a three to cut the Raptor's lead to 4, but Toronto held strong, maintaining the lead to the final quarter.
End of Third: Portland 75, Toronto 82
Thanks to two of the most awkward jumpers you may ever see in the NBA by Myers Leonard, the Blazers continued to cut into the Raptor's lead. After reducing the lead to just three, the Raptors made like Chris Pratt signaled them to make a vicious run, going on a 10-0 spree to push the lead back to 13, 94-81. DeRozan and Lowry snuffed out any more Blazer attempts at a comeback and Toronto snaps Portland's win streak at five.
The Blazers hit the road for a quick two-game trip, starting with the Houston Rockets on Saturday at the Toyota Center. Early bird alert: tip-off is at 2 pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.