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Blazers 101, Raptors 87 Re-Thoughts

Keeping things short on this (very late) post, for various reasons of certain natures.

It was sort of startling how dull the game felt through Toronto’s broadcast, or how different it didn’t feel from the night before in a sparsely populated New Jersey arena. Used to seeing much better gametime atmosphere from Raptors fans (surely the Olympics had some impact on this) and it led to the methodical feeling the win had.

Of course, it probably would have felt somewhat methodical regardless. Without Chris Bosh, the Raptors are the inferior team, and the Blazers played like they knew it. While they held Toronto to 96.7 points per 100 possessions — more than ten points below their average — you cannot point to many things the Blazers defended exceptionally well. Most of the rotations were there, but they were late, with players often left scrambling to reach shooters rather than getting to the spot and playing things straight up.

We’ve held to the “this is not a defensive roster” mantra lately with the centers down and Camby now out as well, but that mostly has to do with their ability to stop sustained runs late in games. What you can’t write off is how easily Hedo Turkoglu (a couple times) and Jarret Jack (a bunch) were able to mosey on into the lane unhindered. Had the Raptors stuck with Jack in the second half, in combination with the hefty number of offensive rebounds they were collecting, Portland’s lack of interior mobility might have cost them the game. But, Toronto went with Jose Calderon, who took them straight to perimeterville.

The offense, though, was steady throughout. 112.2 points per 100 on the strength of just six turnovers and 15 makes at the rim (Roy and Miller, mostly) was more than enough to make up for LaMarcus Aldridge having one of his tougher outings of 2010 (4-of-12). Portland wasn’t nearly as dedicated to running sets through Aldridge as the game went along, and in truth Andre Miller became the true post presence, abusing Calderon on a number of occasions.

But in the end things came down to Toronto not having enough created offense nor anyone to consistently draw the defense away. Credit Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez for sprinting around off the bench, but they were the reasons why Portland was up by 10 for much of the game, not why they won in the first place. We will forget this game in a week, but just as with a number of those uneven victories early in November, you put the win in your pocket and move on knowing nothing went wrong.

Tags: Blazers Brandon Roy Chris Bosh Jarret Jack LaMarcus Aldridge Portland Raptors Rudy Fernandez Toronto

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