Photo Credit: Associated Press, Sportsnet
The Toronto Raptors came up short, losing 122-117 in a close game with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers defeated the Raptors just three days after acquiring Norman Powell in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood at the trade deadline. With this loss, the Raptors fall to a 18-28 record this season and have lost 13 of their last 15 games.
The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry for this game, who was ruled out with right foot soreness prior to tipoff. Despite his absence, the Raps began the game with a great scoring pace, scoring a season high 74 points at the half. In the third quarter however, the team struggled to maintain their poise on offence, shooting 4/22 from the field and 0/13 from beyond the arc. The Blazers took control of the game in the second half, led by dominant backcourt duo Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. McCollum played great on both ends finishing with 23 points, 2 steals and 3 blocks to hold off the Raptors and come out with the win.
All eyes were on the players included in the recent trade, with Powell matching up against Trent Jr. to begin the game and Hood playing in a scoring role as a reserve. Norm got into some early foul trouble, but was able to finish with 13 points, including 2 clutch free throws late in the game to secure the victory. Hood finished the game matching Norm with 13 points off the bench while Trent Jr. struggled with his shot, only scoring 6 points on 2/10 shooting. Expect them both to adjust to the Raptors system and continue to provide a scoring impact.
The Raptors relied on distributed scoring in tonight’s game from their key starters. Pascal Siakam had an efficient night from the field and the free throw line, finishing with 26 points on 8/16 shooting along with 8/10 free throws. OG Anunoby had an excellent game, finishing with a 19 point and 10 rebound double-double. Fred VanVleet struggled from beyond the arc but was able to finish with 20 points and facilitated the offense nicely, dishing out 8 assists. If Lowry’s injury keeps him out longer, expect these three to carry the majority of the offensive load heading into their next matchup.
The Raptors are back on the road Monday night for the second game of a back-to-back against the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have lost four in a row and will look to snap that streak on their home court. Tune into the game at 8:00 p.m. EST.