Just like they planned it.
The Portland Trail Blazers fell behind by as much as 14 points in the second half, but fought to the final second, pulling off a a thrilling 101-99 comeback victory against the shorthanded Toronto Raptors.
Carmelo Anthony capped his best game in a Portland uniform by pulling up for a foul-line jumper with 4.1 seconds to go that gave the Blazers its first lead since the opening minutes. Melo scored five of his 28 points in the final two minutes, and was overall, in the proverbial sense, The Man.
Portland crawls a little bit farther out of the Western Conference basement at 16-22.
Check those rims. Damian Lillard couldn’t buy a bucket early, had only two points at half and nine at the end of the third before he exploded for 11 in the final frame, including the equalizer in the final minute - a 35-foot dagger from near the logo - which set the stage for Melo’s heroics.
He’s gone. Kent Bazemore got into it with referee Sean Corbin near the end of the third quarter and was tossed. Baze thought he was hacked on a fast break layup - maybe he was right, maybe not - but it really just looked more like him taking one for the team.
Board men get paid. Even missing 2/3 of its starting frontcourt (I mean, who isn’t these days?), Toronto manhandled the Blazers on the offensive glass 17-7, which led to a 18-7 advantage in second chance points.
The road trip will continue Thursday night at Minnesota.