The Toronto Raptors drop a tough, disappointing one to the Portland Trail Blazers in overtime, after the Blazers rallied in the 4th quarter, overcoming a 13 point deficit. The Raptors drop to 24-8, while the Trail Blazers add onto their hot record, second in the West at 26-7.
Along with the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, the Raptors have faced one of their biggest challenges, dealing with a Raptor killer in LaMarcus Aldridge, and Damian Lillard who’s transforming into one of the league’s best floor generals.
Lowry led the way for the team, with another all-star calibre performance, corralling 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. James Johnson followed suit with an impressive double-double; 14 points and 11 assists. However, the Raps sputtered in the 4th and overtime. They gave up their lead, and Lowry was exhausted. DD would have helped in this one (and better officiating).
It was a low scoring effort, considering the overtime the Raptors played. It was an awful shooting night on both ends and the Raptors struggled to get one another involved. However, the Raptors did take care of the ball, keeping them afloat during the Blazers’ run. They were also getting to the free-throw line 15 times, allowing them to make up for some poor shots, and missed looks which usually would have gone down.
The Raptors did a solid job in the first half, and the 3rd quarter, but it all fell apart late, allowing solid looks on the perimeter, and losing the aggression on that end of the court. The Raps’ gave up 24 points in the 4th quarter, a quarter in which the Raptors are one of the best in the league defensively. They also forced Portland to shoot 40%, and forced a great outside shooting team to shoot 2-17 uncharacteristically in the first half. Too bad they weren’t able to keep it up. The last 12 minutes is where the team strives, tonight, the complete opposite.
Raptors lose the overall rebounding battle; 51-49, due to not boxing out twice. Problem, however, was allowing five players to grab 4+ rebounds, and two of the Blazer big men combining for 25 rebounds total. The Raptors, on the other hand, had five players recording 5+ rebounds.
Game-Ball: Damian Lillard
Lillard did a fantastic job of quarterbacking his team, turning the ball over twice, and assisting on nine different occasions. Lillard made big plays down the stretch of the game when it mattered the most, hitting big shots, and creating plays for his teammates.