It remains a mystery as to why exactly the Raptors are failing in crunch time.
OK, maybe “mystery” is a strong word. We know how it’s happening — reticence to move the ball, a bunch of janked shots, ineffective rebounding — and we can point to the players who need to do more, or do something different, or maybe just get the hell out of the way. This has been an issue that’s dogged the Raptors for some time (not just last night against Washington, as you well know).
In thinking about it, maybe mystery is the wrong word entirely. The Raptors know there’s a problem. Dwane Casey even said before tonight’s game against the Blazers that Toronto is still trying to discover their fourth quarter identity. The mystery perhaps then is this: why has it taken so long?
The Trail Blazers come into Toronto having won seven of their last eight games. They’ve still got the same backcourt firepower in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but they’re lacking elsewhere — despite the best efforts from Evan Turner, Moe Harkless, and their former saviour Jusuf Nurkic (who’s not injured after all, and starting tonight, by the way).
The Raptors are coming off a tough loss to the Wizards. It was less than 24 hours ago, which brings us to our final question for the pre-game: how will the Raptors respond?
Here’s this morning’s Raptors-Trail Blazers preview from Dylan Litman. Now, let’s get to the updated details.
And then, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 7:30pm EST
Toronto - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Portland - Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto – C.J. Miles (out with knee soreness)
Portland – C.J. Wilcox