In an eerie copycat game going back to the first meeting between the two, the Portland Trail Blazers (34-13) welcomed the Toronto Raptors (25-22) in the season series finale at the Moda Center. The Blazers had three days of rest following a tough loss at the hands of the Grizzlies, and the Raptors were on the second of a back-to-back one night after destroying the Nuggets.
Just like last time, Portland built a comfortable double digit lead all the way to halftime, going as high as 19-points with the shots going down fast, wild and free. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge combine for 33 first half points and take a 17-point into break as Blazers fans are welcoming a solidified win.
But the Raptors came clawing back, the entire second half was theirs for the taking, and Portland goes through multiple ugly offensive droughts. The Raptors could not miss from anywhere and the Blazers defense was one of the worst this season.
Portland was on a 9-2 run at the start of the fourth thanks to Wesley Matthews being deadly from three. But Toronto didn’t fade away, they matched Portland’s run and more: a 24-4 run that lasted until Lillard sinks a pretty floater off the glass with 11 seconds left. A pair of free throws from newly named All-Star DeMar DeRozan ties the game at 101 for the first time all night. Matthews makes two key stops on the Raptors’ last possessions; forcing a jump ball and creating a late turnover that gave Toronto no choice but to foul with .8 seconds left. Nicolas Batum calmly swishes in two and the Raptors are sent packing. Blazers win 106-103.
- LaMarcus Aldridge leads Portland with 27 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and 11-14 from the free throw line.
- Both Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews collect 21 points; Lillard adds seven assists, six rebounds and one nasty foul-line dunk. Matthews caught fire late from downtown and ended going 5-7 from deep.
- Nicolas Batum with that sore ankle managed a nice 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, finally soothing Blazermanics everywhere with the game-winning free throws.
- Toronto is no joke, since the trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento; the Raptors are 19-9 and fourth best in the East. DeMar DeRozan with 36 points in the losing effort but don’t take them lightly. They can bite quickly and almost got away with one tonight.
Highlight of the night
This will get you on a Top 10 list for the night:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Mo Williams’ picture was featured on a recent episode of The Colbert Report. No, Mr. Colbert was not making a smart jab at Williams’ dangerous way of play. But hey, nice to get some more national recognition! Rip City worldwide!
Enjoy the Super Bowl tomorrow folks. Eat plenty of chips, drink your weight in beer and enjoy two of the top teams of the NFL duke it out in the cold while I will be enjoying myself comfortably on the couch in my Kaepernick jesery. The Blazers will spend their Super Bowl Sunday on the plane, as they gear up for a four-game Eastern roadtrip with the Washington Wizards first on Monday for a early 4pm game.