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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Toronto Raptors Preview

The Blazers look to build on an adequate performance against Phoenix as they face a well-rested Raptors team.

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NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (4-2) vs. Toronto Raptors (3-2)

Monday, October 30th - 7:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Noah Vonleh (out), Meyers Leonard (out)
Raptors injuries: Jonas Valanciunas (out), Serge Ibaka (out), Lucas Nogueira (day to day),
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Raptors HQ

After an electric start to the season, the Blazers have come back toward earth. Tight losses to the Bucks and Clippers along with ho-hum wins against New Orleans and Phoenix have some wondering just how good the Blazers are. A solid win against a good Toronto team will allay some concerns and provide confidence before they head to Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

What to watch

  • Can Damian Lillard get his shooting on track? Lillard has gone 17-for-56 over the last three games—30 percent. The Blazers found a way to win twice in those three contests, but winning sure is a lot easier when your brightest start is shooting well. Toronto might not be the easiest team to break out of a shooting slump against, though. The Raptors allow a paltry 30.4 percent from the 3-point line and have generally defended well.
  • The Blazers should be able to run on the Raptors. Toronto has given up 16.6 fast break points per game, second worst in the NBA. On top of that, Toronto will be on the fourth game of a long road trip. Meanwhile, the Blazers have had difficulty getting easy points off the fast break lately. If the Blazers are ever going to revitalize their fast break, the Raptors might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Portland has to keep Toronto from scoring in bunches. The Raptors have been inconsistent from quarter to quarter, but they’ve been a threat to win every game they’ve played in this year. They’ve fallen behind plenty, but they’ve also scored in bunches when down, coming back in games when they looked like they might be down-and-out. If the Blazers can get a healthy lead, don’t be surprised to see Toronto come roaring back. Getting the Raptors down is one thing; keeping them down will be much harder.

What they’re saying

The Raptors have a lot of young talent within their second unit, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star:

There have been no serious issues with any of the kids through the first five games of the season, they’ve been good far more often than they’ve been even average.

Siakam was a revelation while averaging 19 points in the last two games, Poeltl has been consistently good, Wright is an excellent game manager who’ll eventually make a three-pointer, and VanVleet is probably the toughest defender in the group.

While Kyle Lowry’s 3-point shooting has inched up to 31 percent since this was written, Dylan Litman of Raptors HQ isn’t entirely thrilled with the star’s performance:

Kyle Lowry has been a disappointment so far, struggling to shoot from three-point land (at only 27 percent). The good news however, is that the season just started, and there’s tons of time left to improve. Often, a player just takes time to adjust to the tempo of the regular season. Here’s hoping Lowry’s shot will improve as a result, as the Raptors really do need it. Don’t put the bulldog down just yet.

Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun talks about the shooting slump of starting wing Norm Powell:

Basketball players get into funks. What Powell is in right now is a funk for the ages.

He has not sank a three-pointer in four consecutive games after starting out the year with three in the season opener.

His shooting percentage from three is a woeful 21.4%. He might be able to live with that a little easier if his shooting percentage from the field hadn’t all-but flat-lined at 29%.

In his past four games Powell has made four shots. He has attempted 22.

This is not what we have come to expect from Powell and it sure as hell isn’t what he expects of himself.