Blazers down Raptors, 97-84
PORTLAND — When the Blazers led the Thunder by 13 points in the third quarter Thursday, the feel in the Rose Garden was “oh no.” The flow of that game suggested an Oklahoma City run may be imminent, and boy was it.
But when the Blazers led Toronto by 13 in the third quarter Saturday, the feeling was “no way.” Regardless of the occasional Raptors scoring binge, Portland was never going to relinquish control.
Such command produced a 97-84 win for the Blazers, whose defensive stops more than made up for some conspicuous offensive slop. The victory improves their record to 5-2 heading into tonight’s game vs. the Lakers in Los Angeles.
“It started defensively. We were getting stops and making them miss shots,” said Blazers coach Nate McMillan, whose team committed 18 turnovers. “Any time you’re giving them (an opponent) possessions, that’s an opportunity for a team to get back into the game and they did…we got stops and we started to make some shots. We got the momentum back by making a bucket.”
Still burning from its one-point, overtime loss to the Thunder two nights earlier, Portland took out its frustration on the Raptors’ field-goal percentage. Toronto (1-5) made just 28 of its 76 attempts, good for a 36 percent clip.
The fact that it missed its first 16 3-point attempts certainly magnified the Raptors’ futility, but the Blazers rarely gave them enough space to hoist unchallenged shots.
Portland, meanwhile, wasn’t exactly hurting for open looks. Brandon Roy led all scores with 26 points, a total he amassed in 37 minutes. His 15th point tied him with Blazers assistant coach Buck Williams for 15th place on Portland’s all-time scoring list with 5,677 points. The fifth-year guard then broke the record with a lay-up 38 seconds into the third quarter.
“I heard that I was going to pass somebody soon,” Roy said with a smile after the game. “And then when they announced it was Buck I looked over him. It was kind of funny.”
LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points for the Blazers while Nicolas Batum posted 20 on 7 of 14 shooting. But you could argue Marcus Camby and Andre Miller had a greater impact despite the pair scoring just eight and six points, respectively.
Migraine issues rendered Camby questionable before the game, but with the pain having subsided after a nap, the 7-foot center felt obligated to suit up.
What followed were 16 rebounds and an incessant post presence.
“I didn’t want to leave LA (Aldridge) out there by himself tonight,” said Camby, adding that he’s been experiencing migraines since his time with the Clippers. “I was just trying to go out there and gut it up and take one for the team.”
Miller, meanwhile, collected 13 assists and indirectly contributed to additional buckets by drawing defenders and hooking up teammates two passes away.
The Blazers only real flaw was the turnovers, which kept Toronto in the game through the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
Despite a Blazer fan wielding a sign reading “The Raptors took their talent to South Beach,” — referring to departed forward Chris Bosh — Toronto has displayed dangerous athleticism that challenged the Lakers Friday night.
And despite trailing by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, the Raptors capitalized on Blazers mistakes and crept to within eight when Jose Calderon knocked down a 20-footer with 10:45 left in the game.
The Blazers, however, rallied by committee, spreading the scoring around and once again establishing a 23-point lead.
In fact, the advantage was sizable enough that Australian guard Patty Mills took the floor for Portland with 3:09 left in the game, and hit a free-throw that generated a boisterous reaction from the home crowd.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Mills said. “I was smiling… maybe smiling a little too much because I missed that second free throw.
Jarrett Jack led the Raptors with 16 poitns while Leandro Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson each added 12.