The Portland Trail Blazers headed into Toronto to face the Raptors as proud owners of a four-game win streak, their longest of the season. Head Coach Terry Stotts prepped them in the locker room, telling them to be careful with it, that it was brand new, that it wasn’t just a toy to be thrown around. Approximately two minutes after tip-off, the Terrible Toddler Blazers threw that win streak off a balcony, down 62 flights of stairs, and into the incinerator. Toronto’s offense overpowered them as they got down 19 in the first period and the Raptors never looked back.
In light of developments, the Blazer’s Edge Editorial Staff made an executive decision that doing TWO recaps of this game would constitute cruel and unusual punishment, so Tim and I (a.k.a. “Dave”) are combining forces for a Super Mighty Morphin’ Recap! Except there are only two of us and no robots. And the game still sucked.
Tim is in charge of the video portions of our site recaps. If there’s any fidelity to the actual game flow, prepare to see a ton of DeMar DeRozan. Actually, we can make this a Virtual Reality experience if we can just get DeRozan to come through your screen, kick over all your furniture, take a baseball bat to your monitor, shave your cat bald, make biscuits out of its fur, and then feed them to you while you cry. That’s pretty much what he did to the Trail Blazers at the outset of this game. It’s not like Portland’s defense was bad. It just...well...didn’t exist. You could see Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum start looking at each other like, “Oh crap. I guess we better try to bail this out.” Then came the one-on-everybody shots. Meanwhile Jusuf Nurkic was down low going, “Give me the ball!” All the while Jonas Valanciunas ripped apart the Blazers at the other end. At that point most sane viewers went off to make themselves a Nutella-Syrup sandwich, because that sandwich would defend better than the Blazers did.
Portland made some headway in the second period against Toronto’s bench. Then the Raptors first unit came back in and wiped Portland’s run off the bottom of their sneakers. Toronto led 74-52 at the half. Portland won the third quarter, but only by a single point. The Raptors ended up cruising to a 130-105 victory.
This is not OK, Toronto. Next time, use your words.
Lillard, Nurkic, and McCollum combined for 73 of Portland’s 105 points, averaging 24.3 points between them. The other ten Blazers combined for 32 points total, averaging 3.2 points each. Charitably you could say that Damian Lillard’s 32 points proved he has the scoring strength of ten men. Or you could say the Blazers bench all of a sudden remembered they were the Blazers bench. Take your pick.
Good news, Tim! Where’s the good news?
We met Mr. 10,000! ... then saw an ankle tweak. Damian Lillard passed the career milestone early in the second quarter, after personally keeping the Blazers close in the first quarter. Soon after, he passed Jim Paxson’s 10,003 career points. However, it wasn’t all roses. Late in the game, Lillard tweaked his ankle and was visibly limping. He nonetheless returned to the court, despite the 20+ point deficit. He left again soon after.
Brace yourselves. Portland’s next game is on Super Bowl Sunday, in Boston, at 9:00 am.