Blazers Look To Extend One Streak And End Another Friday Night In Toronto

by Casey Holdahl
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The Portland Trail Blazers start a three-game Eastern Conference road swing Friday night with a tilt versus the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Friday's game is the second meeting between the two teams, with the Raptors taking the first game 99-85 back on October 30 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate.

But the Trail Blazers, winners of four straight and seven of their last eight, are currently playing their best basketball of the season. Portland finished the month of January with a 11-5 record, which helped Terry Stotts win Western Conference Coach of the Month honors, have scored at least 100 points in 16 consecutive games and are just one game back from the Thunder for fifth place and two games back from the Timberwolves in the Western Conference standings.

Then again, they have also lost five straight to the Raptors, a team that currently sits in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 34-16 record. Only Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard were with the Trail Blazers the last time they defeated the Raptors in Toronto on March 15, 2015.

More recently, the Trail Blazers enter Friday's game coming off one of their most decisive victories of the season, a 124-108 blowout of the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night at the Moda Center. CJ McCollum set a new franchise record for points in a quarter by scoring 28 in the victory. The 6-4 guard out of Lehigh finished the game with 50 points despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter, making him just the second player in the shot clock era to score at least 50 points in under 30 minutes.

As for the Raptors, Friday's game will be the second of a back-to-back after they fell 122-119 to the Washington Wizards Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Kyle Lowry finished with 29 points while DeMar DeRozan, who will be one of Damian Lillard's teammates at the 2018 All-Star Game, went for 23 and six assists in 38 minutes.

Friday night's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. The game will also be available via stream as a part of NBC Sports Gold's "Blazer Pass." Scott Lynn, who is filling in for Brian Wheeler, will have the radio call on NBC Sports Rip City Radio 620 AM.