Trail Blazers stay hot, shoot past Raptors to start road trip with win


81. 113. 34. Final. 97

The Portland Trail Blazers opened a 5-game road trip Sunday afternoon with a convincing 113-97 win over the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors.


Both teams came out firing to start the game. Toronto entered as the 22nd-ranked defense in the NBA, and Damian Lillard took full advantage by attacking at will and racking up six points and four assists in the first quarter alone.

Toronto’s guards stayed right with him, as Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan hit seven of their first eight shots to keep the Raptors within two, trailing 33-31 to end the first quarter.

Steve Blake‘s pesky defense started to get the best of Lowry in the second, though. Blake held Lowry to 0-for-1 shooting with two turnovers and two fouls, including a technical, in nine minutes of play.

The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, continued their hot shooting into the second quarter, connecting on five more three-pointers and finishing the half at 7-for-14 from beyond the arc. Nicolas Batum was in full-facilitation mode at this point, dishing five assists in the half and contributing to Portland’s 15 assists on 26 field goals. The Trail Blazers went into the half leading comfortably at 64-53.

Portland then hit five more three pointers in the third, and were working the Raptors like silly around the arc. Lillard continued to destroy them off the dribble, racking up 10 points in the quarter and pushing Portland’s lead to 91-79 to enter the fourth.

Toronto showed signs of life in the final period, as they cut what was a 16-point lead into eight with just over eight minutes to play. Head Coach Terry Stotts then subbed in the starters, and Portland went on a 14-4 run to go up by 18 and essentially end Toronto’s comeback hopes with about four minutes left.


Damian Lillard drove the offense, killing Toronto by owning the lane and creating off the dribble. Lillard finished with 23 points and five assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge was super efficient, ending the night with 24 points off only 14 shots. He had little to no difficulty getting shots off Toronto’s smaller Amir Johnson, and he hit 3-of-4 shots in the fourth to ice Portland’s lead.

Arron Afflalo was there when you needed him most. Afflalo started the game with back-to-back threes (until the second was ruled a two), and also hit a clutch corner three to put a wrench in Toronto’s fourth quarter surge.

Chris Kaman made a few key defensive plays, but it was his tapping into his inner Magic Johnson that was the highlight of the night: Kaman dribbled the ball up the court, went behind his back and hit a streaking C.J. McCollum, who dunked with the clock almost expired, to end the first quarter. Kaman also had an up-and-under in the second that demanded another look.

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The Trail Blazers played an excellent all-around team game. They worked Toronto’s perimeter defense, penetrated at will and often swung the ball ferociously to find an open three-point shooter. They finished with all five starters scoring in double figures, and four players off the bench hitting at least three field goals. The team now travels to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards for the second half of this back-to-back, having earned a few valuable minutes rest for the starters tonight.

Next: Mailbag: Afflalo more dynamic than Matthews?