As the team heads out on the road I’ll share my thoughts on the highs and lows of each quarter and their importance to the game, team and season going forward. Let’s discuss!
Road Review: Riding The L-Train Through Toronto
By sarahhecht Posted in: Blazers, Raptors
PORTLAND 94, TORONTO 84
Loved: Marcus Camby’s rebounding
After missing three games with an ankle injury Marcus Camby made his presence known right out of the gate in Toronto. He pulled down nine rebounds in nine minutes in the opening frame while helping to dominate the post. His contributions to controlling the paint helped the Trail Blazers earn 14 of their 27 points from down low.
It’s clear Camby’s absence was detrimental to the Trail Blazers. His occupation of the front court paired with his leadership will both be positives going forward.
Loathed: Early turnovers
The first quarter was fairly solid all the way around. The early blip was turnovers. Five on the period, led to six of Toronto’s 14 points. Had we limited those buckets the 13-point lead could have been much larger, though I’m not complaining about the double-digit hold over the Raptors.
Loved: LaMarcus Aldridge
Hey Toronto, you should probably double-team LaMarcus Aldridge. Or not...
Toronto just couldn’t contain him LA. He followed up his 12-point first with an 11-point second. That’s the first half performance I’ve been waiting for. Aldridge had a double-double after two quarters adding 11 rebounds to his 23-points. Until now, this season has been a second-half battle for Aldridge who hasn’t been able to find a rhythm until the third.
If he can come out strong again tomorrow in Detroit, I’d say he’ll have destroyed the notion he’s a second half player.
Loathed: Raptors fans booing their team
I understand being frustrated with your team. The Raptors are 4-11. They fell down 21 while at home and it’s disappointing. But booing your team? No, thanks. Not ever.
Loved: Raymond Felton
Struggling from the field has been an issue for point guard Raymond Felton. But tonight he seemed to break out of his funk. He shot 6-of-9 from the floor for 14 points with ten of those points coming in the third. Two huge three-pointers helped extend the dwindling Portland lead to 11 to end the period. More importantly, they emphasized control.
Loathed: Allowing Toronto back into the game
When you carry a 15-point lead into the half and you’ve dominated the game there’s no excuse for not slamming the door. This game should’ve been over by the end of the third quarter. Instead Portland allowed Toronto to go on a 19-4 run (including the end of the second half) and narrow the lead to just five.
I don’t know if it was a mental deterioration at the break, or simply an overconfidence. Either way, the Trail Blazers needed to take advantage of their first half hard work and put the game out of reach for the Raptors, but the didn’t.
Loved: THIRTY-THREE AND TWENTY-THREE!
WOWZA, LaMarcus Aldridge! It was a career night for the big guy who posted an incredible line and set a new personal rebounding record. Thirty-three points, 23 rebounds, five assists, two steals, 12-of-25 from the floor.
That’s an All-Star performance. Not much more you can say.
Loathed: Another run by Toronto
The Trail Blazers outplayed the Raptors in most aspects of tonight’s game. That’s not to say there weren’t periods where Toronto made things interesting. They made multiple runs to narrow Portland’s leads and stay in the game. The last of which came midway through the final quarter to bring them within eight.
This is one more example of Portland needing to maintain control in games. This one was never out of sight, but it should have been decided much earlier than it was.
We’re back on track. Sure, it took beating a struggling Raptors team and will hopefully continue against another down team in Detroit, but it’s done. A 3-3 road trip is within reach and in the end that’s a successful outcome.
The biggest take-away from Toronto for me is the virtually instantaneous growth of Aldridge. Not always the most vocal leader, he called a players only meeting following the loss in Atlanta and that action seems to have changed him. He knows this Trail Blazers team looks to him to not only by example, but through words as well. Tonight he did just that.
And Portland was successful.