Trail Blazers vs Raptors Wednesday, 01/02/13 AT 04:00PM

Trail Blazers Drop One In Toronto

01/02/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    The Trail Blazers (16-15) didn't have the energy from the get-go tonight against the Toronto Raptors (11-21) and fell 102-79.

    Damian Lillard, on the day it was announced that he won Western Conference Rookie of the Month for the second consecutive month, had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers in a game they will want to forget. The Trail Blazers had 18 turnovers and to compound matters, the Raptors scored 28 points off those turnovers. One of the most useful weapons in the Trail Blazers is the three-point shot, and Portland couldn't get anything going from deep, going four of 22 (18.2 percent) on threes.

    The Raptors had been playing extremely well, going 7-2 in their last nine games and with the Trail Blazers coming off their emotional win in New York, were vulnerable. The Raptors took advantage.

    "Toronto had a few days off and they've been playing very well," Terry Stotts said. "They've been playing with a lot of energy. I give them a lot of credit."

    LaMarcus Aldridge had put up monster numbers in his previous game in Toronto (33 points, 23 rebounds) but tonight you could see that the Raptors were intent on taking away shots. No matter who was on Aldridge they were making everything he took tough. He was efficient, going seven of 12 from the field, scoring 14 points but he took no foul shots (he was averaging 5.1 attempts per game coming in). He also had 10 rebounds and three assists but Aldridge was not putting the Raptors on their heels like he normally does to other teams. One positive for the Trail Blazers in the game was the play of Joel Freeland. He was active on defense, hitting his jumper and rolling well to the rim. He looked good and put up good numbers in his 21 minutes of 11 points and four rebounds.

    Terry Stotts was very vocal about how well Toronto had played and it is true that a lot of credit has to go to the Raptors. They played very good defense against the Trail Blazers with crisp rotations, forcing Portland into tough looks. Portland was lackadaisical in their zone defense to begin the game as it allowed both DeMar DeRozan (24 points) and Terrence Ross (26 points) to get into a good rhythm. They then carried that rhythm on throughout the game and even when the Trail Blazers would be contesting those shots. It was very much like the two Sacramento losses where the Trail Blazers allowed Toronto's scorers to get into a rhythm and once they got going, they couldn't be stopped. Terrence Ross hit three, three-pointers in three consecutive possessions in the second quarter and wasn't stopped from then on while DeRozan had 16 points in the first half. Ed Davis got into the act as well, scoring 19 points on nine of 12 shooting.

    "We just didn't play well, however you want to cut it," Stotts said. "We were a little loose with the ball in the first half, late on some rotations, didn't contest shots."

    The Trail Blazers can't afford to turn it over against their next opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies who have the best defense in the NBA.

    The Trail Blazers are off until Friday when they will be in Memphis to face Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies. That game will tip off at 5PM and will be shown on CSNNW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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