Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 12/11/12
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Blazers manage to hold things together The Headline: playing without starters Nicolas Batum (back) and Wesley Matthews (hip), Portland comes up with a big win and halts their losing streak at two games. Toronto Raptors vs. Portland Trail Blazers When: 10:00 ET, Monday, December 10, 2012 Where: Rose Garden (Portland) Officials: Rodney Mott, James Williams, David Jones Attendance: 16,863 Love ‘em 1. The big man duo LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson completely dominated this game. Hickson had a very strong night, going a perfect 7-7 from the floor for 16 points. He also had 11 rebounds and a steal. The double-double was his third in a row, and he now has 13 games on the season in which he’s finished with double-digit rebounds. Aldridge had a prolific night, and arguably the best of his season. L.A. finished his night with 30 points on 11-19 shooting. Defensively he had 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. This was Aldridge’s fourth double-double in a row. The L-Train now has seven double-doubles, two games with 30 or more points and nine multi-block performances on the season. With these two dominating for Portland, they were able to completely shut down Toronto’s interior attack. Portland outscored the Raptors 54-26 in the paint, while out-rebounding its opponent 48-45. L.A. led the way in this big win (Photo: Bruce Ely / Oregonian) 2. Finding a much needed win Portland was already on a two-game losing streak, and needed to halt the skid. And with injures piling up, the Blazers needed to prove they could win without a full deck. The game was close at the end of the third, but Portland completely dominated that fourth quarter. The win was nice, and it was also good to see the team put together a strong close. Hate ‘em 1. Victor Claver can’t hit anything With Batum out, Victor Claver got the starting nod at small forward. What ensued was probably the worst performance he could have put together. The rookie shot an ugly 2-12 on the night, including an 0-3 performance on three-pointers. He finished his night with four points. Claver did redeem himself a bit on defense. In 26 minutes he managed five rebounds and two steals. And given Batum’s recent inconsistencies, this kind of production isn’t unheard of from Portland’s small forwards. 2. … neither can Damian Lillard But someone we should hold to a higher standard is rookie Damian Lillard who seems to be hitting another cold patch. Lillard had a disappointing night, shooting just 2-14 for nine points. It was the second game in a row in which Lillard had taken more shots than points scored—he was 5-13 against Sacramento for just 12 points. The prized rookie was also 0-5 from beyond the arc. The only reason he scored as many points as he did was by having a perfect 5-5 night from the line. Lillard did manage six assists and five rebounds on the night. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT OUR TRAIL BLAZERS BLOG AT THE NWSB!
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