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Slow Start Burns Raptors In Loss To Blazers At ACC

Related: Box Score | Photo Gallery | Top #RTZ Tweets
Top Plays: Johnson's Early Slam | DeRozan With The Oop | Amir Blocks Matthews
Post Game: Highlights | Casey | J. Johnson | DeRozan | Barbosa

January 20, 2012

TORONTO (AP) Forced out in the first quarter by a bad back, LaMarcus Aldridge shook off his soreness and delivered a dominating performance.

Aldridge had a season-high 33 points and a career-best 23 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Raptors 94-84 Friday night to hand Toronto its seventh consecutive loss.

"He was just a monster out there tonight, both in the paint as well as on the boards," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

Raymond Felton scored 14 points, and Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace each had 10 rebounds as Portland won its seventh straight over Toronto. The Trail Blazers have not lost to the Raptors since a 101-100 overtime defeat on Dec. 22, 2006.

Portland outrebounded Toronto 55 to 40.

Aldridge had 23 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. His previous career high in rebounds was 19 against Milwaukee on Dec. 20, 2010. His career high in points is 42, set against Chicago on Feb. 7, 2011.

"Tonight he just solidified that he is the best power forward in the game," Camby said.

Maybe, but his night almost ended early. Aldridge was forced to check out in the final minute of the first quarter and head back to the locker room for a quick dose of treatment.

  BY THE NUMBERS

.366 Field goal percentage for the Raptors
55-40 Rebounding advantage favouring the Blazers
10 Free throw attempts for DeMar DeRozan
12 Consecutive games the Raptors have not allowed an opponent to score 100 points.
0-10 Raptors record this season when trailing after three quarters

"My back locked up on me and I couldn't really run or move," he said. "It came out of nowhere and was real, real bad."

Iced down and loosened up, Aldridge returned with 7:32 left in the half and immediately grabbed another rebound.

"He put us on his back tonight and that's what great players do," Jamal Crawford said. "I could tell he was a little different, even in the warmups. He had a different focus. He wasn't about to lose tonight."

It's the seventh time in Trail Blazers history that a player has combined for at least 30 points and 20 rebounds. Six different players have accomplished the feat; the last was Zach Randolph, who did it at Memphis on Apr. 11, 2003.

Aldridge celebrated his achievement by holding onto the game ball.

"I'm not giving that ball up," he said.

James Johnson had a career-high 23 points and DeMar DeRozan scored 22 for the Raptors, who have lost nine of 10.

  RAPTORS REMARKS

"We don't have our number one scorer; we have to find other ways to win and compete. I thought our guys competed after the first quarter, diving on the floor, I was really proud of that."
-- Dwane Casey, on staying consistent
"You can get into a rhythm when you get easy shots and get to the line. The last couple of games I have not gotten to the line. I have to be aggressive. Just going to the contact and not trying to avoid it, that’s my main issue."
-- DeMar DeRozan, on his performance
"They came out more aggressive, like they had more to lose than we did... We have to come out tougher than that. We are a better team than that.You have to tip your cap to Portland."
-- James Johnson, on the loss

Leandro Barbosa scored 17, Ed Davis had 10 rebounds and Jose Calderon matched his season high with 13 assists for Toronto, which opens a five-game trip Sunday at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Trail Blazers led 71-60 to begin the fourth and pushed their lead to 78-62 with 8:15 left. Toronto cut the lead in half, with DeRozan's running jump shot making it 84-76 with 4:23 to go, but the Raptors were unable to get any closer.

"Somehow, some way we have to get four good quarters together and get healthy," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

Toronto was without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani for the fifth straight game, while guard Jerryd Bayless (left ankle) missed his 13th straight game.

Dunks by Johnson and Davis gave Toronto an early 4-0 lead but Portland responded with an 11-0 run and never looked back. Aldridge scored 12 points and Camby had nine rebounds to give the Trail Blazers a 27-14 lead after one quarter.

Portland piled on from there, opening a 21-point lead in the second. Despite briefly heading to the locker room with a lower back strain, Aldridge soon returned and helped Portland take a 47-32 lead at the break. Toronto's first-half point total was a season low.

Notes: Camby returned to the starting lineup against his former team after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle. ... Batum returned after leaving Wednesday's loss at Atlanta when he was poked in the left eye. ... Casey said Bargnani will return to practice Saturday. ... This was Toronto's only home game in a stretch during which they play eight of nine on the road. ... The Raptors scored a season-high 28 fast break points.