Trail Blazers Fourth Quarter Rally Hands Raptors Tough Loss
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
The Toronto Raptors fell victim to a rejuvenated Carmelo Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers dropping a tough 101-99 decision Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena.
The Raptors led for all but 17.3 seconds in this one, Anthony’s pull-up jumper giving the Blazers a 101-99 edge with just 3.3 seconds left. It was Portland’s first lead since they led 4-3 early in the game.
The Raptors jumped to a 24-15 lead after one quarter and led 56-46 at the half, holding the Blazers to just 37.5% shooting. The Raptors extended their lead 3:35 into the third quarter, Kyle Lowry finding Serge Ibaka driving the lane for a slam and a 66-52 lead.
The Trail Blazers, however, would not go away. Trailing by nine to start the fourth quarter, Portland cut the lead to five on Anthony’s pull-up jumper just over two minutes in to the final period. Raptors forward Chris Boucher responded with a personal 7-0 run to give the Raps an 85-73 lead with 8:01 left. The Trail Blazers continued to battle back behind Anthony and all-star guard Damian Lillard. Lillard tied the game 99-99 with 38.5 seconds left, drilling a deep three and taking advantage of what appeared to be a moving pick by Blazers center Hassan Whiteside on Raptors forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. It was a critical non-call that weighed heavily on the outcome.
Following a Nick Nurse timeout, the Raptors battled on their next possession, securing two offensive rebounds and Hollis-Jefferson winning a jump ball against Whiteside to give the Raptors another chance. Lowry, however, could not handle a difficult pass from Patrick McCaw, giving the Blazers an opportunity to take the lead with 13.6 seconds left. This set the stage for Anthony’s go ahead jumper -- ultimately the game winner when Lowry’s three at the buzzer caromed off the back rim.
The loss overshadowed a strong team effort by the Raptors. Boucher and Mississauga’s Oshae Brissett combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds off the bench while Lowry led the Raps with 24 points and 10 assists. Serge Ibaka posted his sixth consecutive double double with 17 points and 11 boards.
Anthony finished with 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting including 5 of 8 from three point range to lead the Blazers. Lillard added 20 points, 18 coming in the second half. Whiteside was strong at both ends of the floor contributing 14 points and 16 rebounds.
The Raptors are now 5-5 in their last ten and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 24-13 record. With the win, Portland improves to 16-22 and sit tenth in the West.
Perhaps fortunately the Raptors do not have much time to dwell on this frustrating loss. Toronto is right back at it tomorrow night when they take on the Hornets in Charlotte.