Blazers’ hot streak continues in smooth win over Raptors
PORTLAND — There was a smooth, strong balance to everything.
Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy glided through the lane and burned defenders as soon as he gained a step. LaMarcus Aldridge swished long-range jump shots and hammered down hard dunks. And while Nicolas Batum drained soft 3-pointers, Andre Miller tunneled in and penetrated the lane.
No Blazer did too much. No one played outside the offense or attempted to stretch their game. And in the smoothness, there was another late-season victory, as Portland downed the Toronto Raptors 109-98 Sunday night at the Rose Garden before a sellout crowd of 20,639.
Aldridge and Batum scored a co-team high 22 points to lead the Blazers (41-28), while Roy added 20 points. Six players reached double figures in scoring for Portland, who hit the century mark for the 10th time in the last 11 games.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan said chemistry and continuity are producing a hot streak that has Portland playing some of its best basketball of the season.
“We’re playing good,” McMillan said. “And what we’re seeing now is this team is starting to get the feel. And I’m starting to get a feel for them.”
Portland has won four consecutive games and nine out of its last 11 contests, and the team is 10-4 since the All-Star break. As a result, the eighth-place Blazers have moved to within a half game of San Antonio and a game of Phoenix in the Western Conference playoff chase. Portland holds a five-game lead over ninth-place Memphis.
McMillan said his team is simply taking care of business and not worrying about anyone else.
Roy said the additions of Batum and center Marcus Camby, a trade-deadline acquisition, to the starting lineup have given his team new life. Most importantly, though, the Blazers have moved ahead by not looking back.
“I just want to keep winning. Try and win every game we play in,” Roy said. “If we’ve got 13 games left, let’s try to win them all.”
Chris Bosh’s game-high 28 points topped the Raptors (32-33).
Toronto forward Hedo Turkoglu (14 points, 4 of 5 3-pointers) was showered with boos every time he touched the ball. Turkoglu was a free agent last summer, and he nearly signed with Portland before moving to Toronto. And while the Blazers long ago moved on from the drama, the team’s fans still paid their respects.
The Blazers outscored the Raptors in every quarter but the third. And Portland established season highs in made 3s (12) and 3-point shooting percentage (60.0).
Aldridge dominated the first half, scoring 16 points while collecting 10 rebounds, and the Blazers took a 60-49 lead into halftime.
Portland stretched its advantage to 91-80 early in the fourth quarter before the Raptors clawed back with an 11-2 run.
But Roy and Batum took control down the stretch. And as the Blazers’ defense dug in, Portland pulled away.
Aldridge said sharp execution and not settling for jump shots made the late-game difference.
“That gave us our rhythm back, and guys made some big shots,” Aldridge said.
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