THE FACTS: The Toronto Raptors defeated the Portland Trail Blazers102-79 at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night for their fifth straight home win. The Raptors led wire-to-wire, starting the game on a 20-8 run and never looked back, widening the margin by as many as 25 points.
Shooting the ball at 53.9 percent, coupled with great ball movement, keyed the Raptors (12-20) to their eighth win in nine games. Toronto was led by rookie Terrence Ross' career-high 26 points off the bench, on a career-best 6-for-9 shooting from the 3-point line. DeMar DeRozan added 24 points, Ed Davis scored 19 with seven rebounds and Amir Johnson added 17 points off the bench, while Jose Calderon had a game-high 13 assists.
The Raptors dominated the first half 55-39, behind Ross' 13 points where he went 4-for-5 from the 3-point line in the second quarter. They pushed the lead during the third, taking an 11-2 run with less than six minutes left in the quarter, ending it 78-61. Not letting up, they widened the margin to as many as 25 in the fourth en route to their eighth home win of the season.
December's Rookie of the Month, Damian Lillard, led Portland (16-15) with 18 points and seven assists. LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews added 12 points off the bench.
QUOTABLE: "We know what it takes now. So, all we have to do is keep working hard, putting extra work, playing defense and good things start to happen."
-- Raptors rookie Terrence Ross on the difference between the Raptors now and earlier in December
THE STAT: The Raptors had 34 assists on 41 made field goals. Their ability to share the ball was key as Toronto's point guard tandem of Calderon and Kyle Lowry dished out 22 assists, 13 and nine, respectively. Remarkably, they didn't score a single point with both guards only taking three field goals between them.
TURNING POINT: The Raptors started the game on a 20-8 run and never relinquished the lead. They kept it at double digits for much of the second half and stretched it to as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter for a wire-to-wire win.
HOT: Ross had a career-high game, but his first-half play of 13 points in 10 minutes in the second quarter (shooting 4-for-5 from behind the arc) provided a sparkplug off the bench,
NOT: Looking very unlike the Rookie of the Month for December, Lillard couldn't get his team going in the first half. He shot 2-for-6 from the field with four rebounds, two assists and five turnovers, to go along with his seven points.
UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Friday vs. Sacramento, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia. For the Trail Blazers, Friday @ Brooklyn, Saturday @ Minnesota and Monday vs. Orlando.