PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers might not be much of a road team, but they sure know how to get it done at home.
After returning from a demoralizing four-game trip with just one win, the Trail Blazers returned to Moda Center to defeat the Raptors 118-113 in front of a crowd of 16,142 Monday night in Portland.
“I think we need every home game considering how bad we’re playing on the road,” said CJ McCollum. “You just got to have a sense of urgency, especially at home. You don’t get these games back and you’re going to wish you got them later on in the season. So we’ve just got to try and take advantage, feed off our home crowd’s energy because it is tough playing on the road.”
The Trail Blazers are now 7-8 overall and 6-1 at Moda Center this season. Portland has now won six-straight at home and their last four versus the Raptors.
The old adage in the NBA is that the hardest game of a road trip is the first game back home, and that’s especially true when that game is the second of a back-to-back and the fifth game in seven nights.
So when the Trail Blazers found themselves down 13-3 after less than three minutes of play to a Raptors squad that hadn’t played since Saturday, it seemed as though the home team and their fans would be in for a long night, especially after they were embarrassed the night before by the Nuggets in Denver.
“I just felt like we needed to wake up,” said Billups. “You know, we just gotta wake up, man. We can't come into a game like this playing against a hungry, desperate team, who is a really good road team. They didn't play last night and we did. I understand that but we gotta wake up.”
But unlike Sunday’s debacle, Monday’s game was in Portland, where the Trail Blazers have only lost once this season. With their fans behind them, the Blazers responded with a 17-4 run from late in the first quarter to early in the second, cutting the Raptors’ lead to one and setting up a close contest for the remainder of the game.
“I thought to start the game they obviously wanted to be physical and establish themselves that way,” said Damian Lillard. “And when they hit first, we responded, I thought, better for the rest of the game. We played how we were supposed to play. We played like a team that wanted to win.”
Portland would end up shooting 71 percent from the field and from three in the second quarter and scored the last nine points of the first half to take a 61-60 advantage into the intermission.
The Blazers pushed their advantage to as many as eight in the third, but it was the Raptors turn to finish a quarter strong, going on a 14-6 run to tie the game at 85-85 going into the fourth.
With McCollum and Lillard starting the fourth by scoring eight-straight between the two of them, Portland would take a 10-point lead less than two minutes into the quarter. The Raptors would refuse to go down easy -- they cut what was a 13-point lead to one late in the fourth -- but a 6-0 burst between the 1:32 and 38.5 second mark was enough to secure yet another home win.
“All in all, I think the effort was there,” said McCollum. “I think we were consistent. I think we’ve played hard all season, we just haven’t played smart. We have those stretches where we have letdowns... I think tonight, we started off slow and then we kind of picked it up and did what we needed to do to get a win.”
CJ McCollum finished with 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 6-of-11 shooting from three, six assists, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 39 minutes.
Damian Lillard, after sitting out Sunday’s loss, put up 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 shooting from three, eight assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block in 40 minutes.
Larry Nance Jr. played the entire fourth quarter and finished a perfect 7-of-7 from the field a for 15 points while also logging five rebounds and two assists in 23 minutes.
Norman Powell put up 12 points versus his former team and Robert Covington added 11. Jusuf Nurkic grabbed 14 rebounds in 18 minutes.
OG Anunobdy led the Raptors with 29 points, though he scored just six points in the second half. Pascal Siakam had 20 and both Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. contributed 18.
• The Trail Blazers won their fourth straight game against the Raptors. • Portland won its sixth straight game at Moda Center. The Trail Blazers are now 6-1 at home.• The Trail Blazers reserves outscored the Toronto bench, 37-12.• Portland shot a season-best 56.1% from the field.• The Trail Blazers recorded six steals and seven blocks while the Raptors recorded seven steals and two blocks. • Portland made 16 three-pointers (of 36, 44.4%) while the Raptors connected on 15 of their 33 attempts (45.5% 3-PT).
“There’s no excuse not to use every minute of energy we had, and I thought we did an outstanding job in the fourth quarter of fighting off their runs and making some of our own.” -- Larry Nance Jr.
The Blazers now have a day off before hosting the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night in the second game of a four-game homestand. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.