Road Takes: Lillard, Batum help Blazers survive Raptors comeback in OT win
Winning on the road isn’t about style. And for a team that didn’t do a lot winning on the road last season, style points are about the last thing they should worry about.
The Trail Blazers made their sixth straight win much harder than it needed to be as they squandered a 17-point lead with over eight minutes left in the ball game and eventually had to go to overtime to beat the Raptors 118-110.
Rudy Gay threatened late and had an excellent finish scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. It looked like Gay was going to somehow will the Raptors to victory after he sent the game into overtime.
Gay even made a three in overtime and got two free-throws to put the Raptors up by as much as three with 2:52 left in the game. But then, with the shot-clock running down after a bad possession, Damian Lillard changed the momentum of the game hitting a deep three from above the break to tie the game.
On the ensuing possession, Lillard, who also scored the overtime period’s first basket hit another jumper to put Portland up by two. Then Lillard found Batum for a three in transition and the Blazers were able to put together a great possession of ball movement to find Batum in the corner to put the game away.
This game was about adversity and the Blazers responded.
They gave up a big lead, they were on the road, the crowd got behind them and they were down in overtime. Robin Lopez fouled out of the game with 45 seconds left in regulation and they elected to play small with Mo Williams, Lillard, Matthews, Batum and Aldridge.
And while Portland still didn’t have a great defensive game, their offense once again continues to be a problem for opposing defenses.
They outscored the Raptors 16-8 in the overtime period and the possession for the Batum three that put the Blazers up by eight and effectively put the game out of reach was the perfect example of how the Blazers can hurt you. Not only do they have a great offensive talents, their spacing and their unselfishness to find the open shooter has taken them to another level.
The win wasn’t pretty, but their offense continues be pour in the points and the Blazers continue to get wins any way they can. Tonight was Aldridge’s fifth straight double-double and the Blazers continue to make good on their threes as they are shooting 42 percent through the first 10 games.
Now the Blazers head to Brooklyn to face the Nets tomorrow, who have not only gotten off to a disappointing 3-6 start, but Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko are out indefinitely while Paul Pierce, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett all missed Saturday’s game against the Clippers.
The Blazers have a very good chance to make it seven in a row and improve on their best start through 10 games since the 1999-2000 season.