clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Raptors light up Trail Blazers with barrage of 3s, win 130-105

The Raptors ran away with this one with a superlative shooting display from pretty much everyone on the team. It was quite the bounce back win over the Blazers.

Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

With C.J. Miles and Fred VanVleet out last night against the Wizards, the Raptors were dying for some long-range shooting. They didn’t get it (and a host of other things) and ultimately lost the game. But just to change things up and keep us on our toes, on Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, with VanVleet back in the lineup, they did get it — and then some. Behind a scorching 47.5 percentage (19-of-40) from deep as a team, Toronto lit up the the Blazers, and won easily 130-105.

So what changed? Where did the shooting come from? Kyle Lowry, of course, went 2-of-6, Serge Ibaka hit one, so did Pascal Siakam. The return of VanVleet meant a few as well (he went 3-of-5 from deep to finish with 16 points). But then there were the more surprising sources: Jonas Valanciunas went 2-of-4 from long range — and thought about taking more — and, oh yeah, DeMar DeRozan decided he was just going to bomb away from deep, going 6-of-10 on the night, and burying whatever competitive spirit the Blazers had.

“We took what they gave us,” said DeRozan, after dropping a game-leading 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting, plus eight rebounds and two assists, all in just over 30 minutes. “We were aggressive. We didn’t really force much. We got shots that we wanted. It was a combination of all them things — we played well, too.”

For three quarters of the game, that competitive Blazers’ spirit — driven as it usually is by Damian Lillard — tried their best. One game removed from C.J. McCollum’s 50, it looked as though Dame was trying to match the effort. He scored the Blazers first nine points, and helped guide them through a 21-5 run in the second quarter. He’d finish with 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting in a losing effort. His production (along with 21 points from McCollum and 20 from Jusuf Nurkic) was melted by the heat of the Raptors’ barrage. Toronto pushed their way past 100 points in three quarters, riding a lead that got as large as 29, but only dipped below 15 a few times before the final buzzer.

Coming off that Wizards game last night, one in which the Raptors bench was outplayed by the weak-sauce Washington reserves, it was refreshing to see the energy level on display for Toronto. If it’s not clear already, the source of that organizing energy is VanVleet. His 16 points paced the group, sure, but his composure, his drive-and-kick game, his ability to set the tone on defense, have all been instrumental in keeping the group in line. It doesn’t hurt when Norman Powell, Siakam, Delon Wright, and Jakob Poeltl all pitch in in the ways their supposed to.

“They bounced back, huge bounce back,” said coach Dwane Casey. “I’m really proud of the way the bounced back and played. We need them, we need their energy, their focus, their attention to detail, their execution because it’s contagious. They’re young guys, there’s gonna be nights when they just can’t get it going and they didn’t last night, but tonight they did a great job.”

This was yet another game when no one, save DeRozan just barely, topped 30 minutes. The other Raptors starters put in 22 to 26 minutes of work (and that’s mostly because OG Anunoby, still in a slump got to play some garbage time minutes). It’s easy to put a roster in this situation when they’re shooting the lights out. It’s easier still when the bench unit continues to produce at a steady clip. Hell, the Raptors were so focused and on fire, lightly used forward Alfonzo McKinnie got in four minutes of action and he hit a three too. That’s just the kind of game it was.

So yes, we can table the discussion about clutch scoring tonight. The Raptors came in against one of the tougher defenses in the league (Portland is ninth overall in defensive rating), and blew them away. Toronto won’t be able to count on these kinds of performances all the time in the playoffs, e.g. nights when every shot goes in. It can happen, but it’s best to prepare the offense for the worst.

Still, there are worse things to happen to a team than the confidence boost of a blowout. The Raptors are now 35-16 and that will always have a value, even with some painful losses in the rearview. “It’s a good win,” said Kyle Lowry, in what amounts to the night’s last words.

“Good teams bounce back, protect home court, give us a chance to feel good.”