Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 12/10/12
Easy part of the schedule? The Portland Trail Blazers opened the 2012-13 season against playoff hopefuls and perennial contenders in their first six games. This was supposed to the easy part of their schedule, yet they’re just 4-6 since that “easy” part of their schedule began Nov. 12. Matchup: Portland (8-12) vs. Toronto Raptors (4-16) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 Portland will play host to the Toronto Raptors Monday night, and while you like their chances against a 4-12 Eastern Conference opponent, nothing is a guarantee for this young Blazers squad at this point in the season. Game Notes/How They Match Up If you like offense, Portland versus Toronto is going to be the game for you Monday night. Kyle Lowry was one of the player the Portland Trail Blazer targeted during the 2012 offseason. (Photo: US PRESSWIRE) Neither team should be considered elite on the offensive end of the floor—they are 14th and 16th in points per game—but they both have a tendency to give up a ton of points to their opponents. One area where both teams struggle defensively is in transition. They are ranked 25th and 26th in opponent fast break points per game, and both have had trouble stopping teams that play at a frantic pace this season. Defense isn’t the only area, though, where these teams struggle in transition. Despite each squad having the talent to get out and run, they are 27th and 28th in transition points per game. Both teams are going to get open looks in this one, which means it will likely come down to which group is taking advantage of their opponent’s poor defense. What to Watch: Portland The Raptors are the third-worst team in the league when it comes to defending the three-point line. Deep-range shooting has been an area where Portland has found success this year, so they’ll look to take advantage of any open opportunities. The Blazers have a handful of decent shooters. Damian Lillard has proven that his jump shot can translate the NBA game, as he’s shooting 38.2 percent from the three-point line. Wesley Matthews is leading the starters in three-point percentage, and Nicolas Batum have also been reliable this year. One play to watch out for in this game is Luke Babbitt. He’s earned more minutes the past four games than any other stretch this season, and a big reason for that is his shot from long range. If he gets the same kind of minutes against Toronto, he could be one player who takes full advantage of their poor defense. What to Watch: Toronto Like the Trail Blazers, an area to watch for the Toronto Raptors is the three-point shot. Their star player DeMar DeRozan won’t threaten the Blazers much from behind the arc. However, newcomer Mickael Pietrus, Jose CCalderon and Kyle Lowry have a tendency to kill teams from deep range. Lillard will match up against a point guard who was on Portland’s radar this past summer. (Photo: Ned Dishman/Getty Images) The Raptors are only shooting 34.5 percent from behind the three-point line this season, but they have the talent to make the Blazers pay if their defense isn’t locking down Monday night. Key Matchup Heading into the 2012 NBA offseason, it was no secret that the Trail Blazers needed a point guard. They were coming off one of their worst point guard experiments in team history in Raymond Felton, and the only question was, where do they target their next floor general? Portland opted to draft Damian Lillard with sixth pick in the draft, and it’s safe to say he’s lived up to the hype. However, another target that the Blazers had their eye on was Kyle Lowry, who is playing at a very high level for the Raptors this season. The two floor generals will face off Monday night, and it should be one of the more entertaining matchups from start to finish. Both players like to push the tempo, but it’s the younger Lillard who has shown he can stay in control better this year. The two of them are very good athletes, and while Lowry is the better defender at this point, the two will challenge one another in both fast-break and half-court sets. Injury Report Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Wesley Matthews, DOUBTFUL—Nicolas Batum Toronto: N/A Prediction The Trail Blazers dropped their first game at home following the seven-game win streak, but a matchup against the Toronto Raptors should help boost their confidence. Blazers 104 – Toronto 91 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

One pitch away: Carrasco loses no-hitter in bottom of the 9th

England loses World Cup semifinal to Japan in heartbreaking fashion

Braxton Miller had 'successful' check-up visit

Raptors signing Carroll is shrewdest move of free agency

Report: Los Angeles Clippers will sign Paul Pierce

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

With Kevin Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Aldridge crosses Lakers off list, did not mesh well with Kobe

Jerry Dipoto officially steps down as Angels GM

Report: Rajon Rondo wants 'all of' Kings' $10M cap space

Reports: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson returning to Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Heat reportedly progressing in contract talks

David West explains why he opted out of Pacers contract

Warriors, Draymond Green agree to 5-year, $85 million deal

Twins call up top prospect Miguel Sano

Robert Griffin III speaks at UN to advocate for protecting oceans

Cavaliers re-sign Iman Shumpert to four-year contract

Mike Green is joining the Red Wings on a three-year deal

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans until 2020

ESPN denies censoring Keith Olbermann commentary

The best and worst MLB players in the month of June

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on Aldridge

Danny Green takes the Andre Iguodala path

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.