The Dinos made a game of it, but in the end, came up short in overtime, losing to the Portland Trailblazers 118 to 110.
The Raptors were back in action to play against the Trail Blazers this afternoon. The game began with great action in the paint for the Raptors as they went half of the quarter without missing a shot and Rudy Gay hit 5/5 from the field. As the quarter progressed, both teams went back and forth resulting in over ten lead changes. Offensively, the first quarter was all about Rudy Gay and Jonas Valanciunas, going for 11 and 12 respectively.
Although the Raptors were effective in the first, posting a field goal percentage of 63.2%, they could not keep up with the Blazers, who capitalized on Raptors turnovers for 19 points. The quarter finished with a score of 31-29 for the Blazers.
The second quarter opened up with Portland’s Robin Lopez receiving his third foul of the game and Quincy Acy going down with an ankle injury. It appeared to be a bad roll, but Acy was able to walk off the court on his own two feet. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews found their strokes from deep and it looked like the Blazers were going to run away with it early in the second Q. After a much needed time out from head coach Dwane Casey, Demar DeRozan took over and put together some really nice drives to put the team to within three points going into the half. The Raptors ended the half with 30 points in the paint but only 8 assists compared to the Blazers’ 17. It would have been nice to see Valanciunas get the ball in the post after his great start to the game but the team seemed to disagree.
Toronto’s third quarter was flat out ugly. Their offensive struggles got the best of them, as they scored only 15 points and went 0/9 from beyond the arc. Portland wore down Toronto and led the quarter from the beginning to the end. The Raptors gave up 19 points off turnovers, giving themselves a ten-point deficit going into the fourth.
A sense of urgency was expected from the Raptors to start the fourth quarter but that didn’t materialize until there was about four minutes left on the clock. The Dinos made their run however, with a team effort and some incredible individual plays by Rudy Gay and DeMar Derozan, cutting the club's deficit to two with seconds remaining. And with the game on the line, Gay drove to the hoop with the clock about to expire, tying it, and the comeback was complete. Off to overtime we went.
Gay gave the Raptors an early edge in overtime, but Damian Lillard’s ridiculously long three followed by a couple of Nicolas Batum’s threes sealed the Raptors fate. While the Blazers made crisp passes to get easy open looks, the Raps kept trying to go one-on-five and in the end, the comeback was for naught.
Valanciunas was an excellent display of efficiency this game going 8-11 from the field, contributing a total of 19 points. At the risk of beating a dead horse, it is confounding as to why he is still not getting a greater share of the ball. Aside from Kyle Lowry’s 10 helpers, the lack of assists by the Raptors is still very alarming. Despite Dwight Buycks getting more playing time as the back-up PG these days, he has yet to make a difference in this area.
Finally, the Raptors struggled vastly from beyond the arc only hitting 3/17 the entire game, (17%) compared to the Blazers 47%. This sort of performance won't cut it if Toronto wants to win games.
Final score: The Trail Blazers win with 118-110. Up next for Toronto? The Philadelphia 76ers this Wednesday.
Sarah’s Eye: As a fan of the Simpsons, I noticed right away that Robin Lopez’s hair inspiration comes from the great Sideshow Bob.