Game Rap: Raptors 112, Trail Blazers 106
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMar DeRozan made a pair of free throws with 30 seconds remaining to put the Raptors ahead by seven points. Although C.J. McCollum would hit a pull-up jumper to get the Blazers within five, they would not get any closer as Toronto picked up a 112-106 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry for the second consecutive game because of a sore right wrist. Dwane Casey discussed his point guard’s availability prior to the game, saying that Lowry’s official status would be day-to-day and that he would be treated symptomatically. Cory Joseph started in his place alongside DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas.
COACHING FROM THE SIDELINE
Despite not suiting up for Sunday’s contest, Kyle Lowry was very much involved from the sideline. Talking with the newest Raptors during game-time, Lowry was also extremely animated during timeouts, explaining things to his teammates and also taking part in the coaches huddles.
Much like the first half of Friday’s victory against the Boston Celtics, the Raptors started off slow on Sunday evening. Portland shot 50 percent in the opening quarter, holding Toronto to 45 percent shooting as Toronto struggled to find success scoring outside of DeMar DeRozan’s 12-point first quarter effort. Mo Harkless led the way for Portland with nine points, while C.J. McCollum added seven as the Blazers led 28-25 after the opening 12 minutes.
TURNING THINGS AROUND
After allowing the Blazers to shoot 50 percent in the first quarter, it was a different story in the second with Portland shooting just 33 percent from the floor, making 6-of-18 field goals. In comparison, the Raptors connected on 11-of-18 field goals, shooting 61 percent as they outscored Portland 28-24, taking the lead on a Cory Joseph floater with 17.5 seconds to go in the half. The Raptors led 53-52 at the break, thanks to DeMar DeRozan’s 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting. The Blazers were led by Al-Farouq Aminu’s 11 points.
KEEPING IT CLOSE
The third was a back-and-forth affair with Damian Lillard scoring 10 points to keep the Blazers close, despite Toronto continuing to score at will. The Raptors shot 12-for-19 (63 percent) from the floor in the quarter while holding the Blazers to 48 percent shooting. DeMar DeRozan scored 10 points to lead Toronto. The Raptors led by as many as eight midway through the quarter, but allowed the Blazers to close the quarter on a 16-10 run to trim the Raptors lead to two heading into the fourth.
CLOSING IT OUT
Serge Ibaka scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth as Toronto stepped up its defence and closed out the victory. P.J. Tucker played the entire quarter for the second consecutive game, helping to force Portland into 44 percent shooting. The Raptors built a nine-point lead with 2:41 remaining on a three-point play from Cory Joseph, and the deficit was too much for Portland to overcome.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan had another big night carrying the team offensively in Kyle Lowry’s absence. DeRozan scored 33 points on 9-for-16 field goals, making 15-of-16 free throw attempts in 36 minutes. In addition to another big scoring night, DeRozan also added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. In the team’s previous two games without Lowry, DeRozan is averaging 38 points on 55 percent shooting.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Cory Joseph had another solid outing as he slid into Kyle Lowry’s starting point guard position for the second straight game. Joseph played 33 minutes against the Blazers, contributing 14 points and six assists. He shot 6-for-12 from the floor, making his only three-point attempt and free throw attempt, and adding a rebound and a steal.
Serge Ibaka was fantastic again in just his second game in a Raptors uniform. Ibaka scored 18 points, nine coming in the decisive fourth quarter. He shot 8-for-15 from the floor, 2-for-5 and from beyond the arc. He added a team-high 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
THAT'S A RAP…
“It's everything. Just having the knowledge, being in the league, being in every situation you can think of and just knowing. There's not much you've got to say to them guys, them guys are going to speak up with their opinion and what they feel is best out there and we get it on the go.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the experience of the two newest Raptors
BY THE #’S
54…Percent shooting for Toronto, 44 percent shooting for Portland.
50…Points in the paint for the Raptors compared with 42 for the Blazers.
10…Turnovers for Toronto leading to 16 Blazers points. Portland turned the ball over 11 times, leading to 12 points scored by the Raptors.
11…Points, two rebounds and an assist for Delon Wright in 15 minutes playing backup point guard to Cory Joseph.
THEY SAID IT…
"[He] did a great job coming in and being aggressive in the minutes he got, taking his shots and I just try to do the same thing. Obviously with Kyle out we know we’ve got to step up. Hopefully we’ll continue to do it.”
- Cory Joseph talking about Delon Wright’s impact
“It’s good, it’s great. I think it’s great that he’s into it like that. Most guys go down at end of the bench and sit there, eat popcorn, hide popcorn under their seat and everything. He’s up there, we’re gonna put on the coaching staff payroll. He’s got a lot of good stuff, talking to the new guys, telling them what to do which is great. But I’d much rather have him out there on the floor with No. 7 on rather than with the coaching staff.”
- Dwane Casey on Kyle Lowry acting like an additional coach on the sidelines while he’s not in uniform
“Yeah, it’s unbelievable. I really like it, especially with me and [DeMarre Carroll] switching all the stuff. We’re making them take tough contested 2’s and then being able to push back at the other end with Serge at the 5 being able to take the rim, it’s a pretty good lineup.”
- P.J. Tucker talking on-court chemistry with his new teammates in the fourth quarter
“Oh man, defensively altering and blocking shots, able to switch out on wings, point guards and able to knock down shots. We're able to throw it down there in the post. You saw tonight in the fourth quarter with him on ISO and he got some big buckets for us.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the impact of Serge Ibaka
The Raptors head to New York to take on the Knicks in a back-to-back on Monday at 7 P.M. ET.