Historically Awful Second Quarter Paves Way For Loss To Toronto

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers have been average, at best, on offense this season, but more often than not, they’ve found enough scoring to come away victorious. But what they did — or to be more precise, what they did not do — in the second quarter of Monday night’s game versus the Raptors was the kind of offensive performance that can only be described as irredeemable.

The Trail Blazers scored just six points in the second quarter versus the Raptors, a new franchise low for scoring in the second quarter and just one point off their worst quarter ever, before going on to lose 99-85 in front of 18,505 fans Monday night at the Moda Center.

"The first quarter was really nice and the second quarter was really bad,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “Give a lot of credit to Toronto, I thought they were very aggressive on our pick-and-rolls, they were aggressive on the weak side, they got their hands on a lot of balls. When we did get the ball in the paint they went after it hard.”

Portland is now 4-3 overall and 3-2 at home this season. The Trail Blazers have now lost five-straight to the Raptors, including the last three games in Portland.

The Trail Blazers and Raptors entered the second quarter tied at 29-29 though their were signs late in the first quarter that offensive struggles might be on the horizon for the home team. Despite shooting 52 percent from the field and 57 percent from three, Portland went the last 2:17 of the first quarter without scoring, and it would get much worse from there.

"I felt bad for them because they're out there struggling," said Stotts. "I don't fault our effort, which as a coach, if they were just kind of going through the motions, that would be something else. But they were trying and we couldn't get anything done."

Portland wouldn’t score in the second quarter until Damian Lillard made a free throw with 7:21 to play in the first half. He'd make another free throw after a defensive three-second call on Toronto at the 6:47 mark of the second quarter, and despite their issues, Portland trailed by a very manageable seven points.

But when you’re unable to score from the field, no deficit is manageable, as the Trail Blazers would soon find out. Portland would miss 20 straight shots before they scored their first field goal of the second quarter on an Evan Turner’s layup with 5.4 second to play in the first half. And by then, they trailed by 54-35 going into the intermission.

"Tough is an understatement," said Turner of Portland's inability to score in the second quarter. "Shots weren't falling. It seemed like they were getting what they wanted. A couple in and outs. It's tough. I think halfway through we only had four free throws, definitely tough. We just have got to get that end of the floor together, keep shooting with confidence and wait for the tide to turn."

Toronto’s lead would grow to 26 in the third quarter, making the second half little more for the Trail Blazers than an exercise in making the final score slightly more respectable.

"I think we really hurt ourselves in that second quarter," said Lillard. "We had a 29-point first quarter, it was 29-29 at the end of one and you score six points in the second quarter, you're not giving yourself much of a chance. They built the lead in that second quarter and we pretty much played them even in the second half."

Portland was led by Lillard, who scored 25 of his game-high 36 points in the second half. CJ McCollum went 5-of-16 from the field for 16 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. No other Trail Blazer scored in double figures.

The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 21 of his 25 points in the first half. Kyle Lowry went for 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 34 minutes. Lucas Nogueira added 17 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes.

Next up, the Trail Blazers head to Utah to play the Jazz Wednesday night at Vivant Smarthome Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.