Posted January 02, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Portland Trail Blazers
Although the Toronto Raptors haven't defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in almost five years, they figure to give them all they can handle this time around if their recent efforts are any indication.
Seeking an eighth victory in nine games, Toronto tries to avoid a ninth consecutive loss to visiting Portland as these teams square off Wednesday night.
Since pulling out a 116-109 double-overtime win over the Trail Blazers (16-14) on Jan. 13, 2008, the Raptors (11-20) have been outscored by an average of 10.8 points in dropping the last eight matchups in this series. Despite holding Portland to 0 for 20 from 3-point range, Toronto saw those woes continue with a 92-74 road defeat Dec. 10, losing Andrea Bargnani to a ligament tear in his right elbow in the process.
While most assumed Bargnani's injury would set back the Raptors, who were 4-18 at the time, even more, his absence has instead allowed others to step up. Toronto enters the new year having won seven of eight while holding opponents to an average of 91.9 points - significantly lower than its season mark of 99.8.
The Raptors are coming off Saturday's 123-88 rout at Orlando. DeMar DeRozan had 21 points while Jose Calderon scored 15 to go along with 10 assists for Toronto, which went 15 for 27 from beyond the arc and shot a season-high 56.1 percent.
"We've had a lot of bad luck early in the season with injuries and close games so it's desperation time every time we step on the court," said DeRozan, who scored 30 the night before in a 104-97 overtime win at New Orleans. "When we make the game fun, everybody's confidence gets high and it feels like we can't be stopped."
Ed Davis also came up big with 18 points Saturday while Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross added 16 apiece off the bench. Alan Anderson, averaging 15.3 points over the last seven games, chipped in 11.
"We don't have any Kobes or LeBrons who just go out and win games for us, we've got to do it as a team," Calderon said. "When we do that, we're pretty good."
The Raptors, who open a season-high six-game homestand Wednesday, have taken four in a row on their own court - their longest such run since putting together eight consecutive victories Jan. 17-Feb. 10, 2010.
The Blazers, meanwhile, kicked off their four-game trek in impressive fashion Tuesday, winning 105-100 at New York. Nicolas Batum made 6 of 12 from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points while rookie sensation Damian Lillard scored 21. LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 and 14 boards as the Blazers improved to 8-2 over their last 10 games.
"This was big time for us. I think we're gaining confidence every day," said Lillard, who leads all first-year players in scoring at 18.4 per game. "Every day that we see ourselves on film, we see the improvements that we've been making and we're getting better. We're starting to trust each other more and we're jelling a lot better than we were and it's showing."
Aldridge in particular has given the Raptors fits of late. The formidable big man had 30 points and 12 boards in last month's matchup and is averaging 33.3 and 15.0, respectfully, in his last three games in this series.
The Blazers have gone 4-0 as the visiting team when scoring at least 103 points but are just 1-10 when failing to reach that mark. They're averaging 95.3 points in opposing arenas.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
WALTER SOBCHAK IS IRKED
Many basketball coaches preach to their players to not pick up their dribble unless they’re going to pass or shoot it. The Raptors’ Amir Johnson picked up his dribble Wednesday night, but chose option (c) which was dribble again to get a better look at the hoop. Per NBA rules in which the double dribble and traveling are both optional, it wasn’t called. And actually, it...
Andrea Bargnani was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2006 and has not developed into the franchise player the Toronto Raptors hoped he would become. The team has had one winning season since he was drafted, and they actually started winning this season after he got hurt. Though he is talented, one of his big problems seems to be his mental toughness.
Sam Mitchell coached the Raptors...
Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson got away with what may be the most blatant double dribble in the history of the NBA during the first quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It's not even close how obvious this double dribble was. Johnson dribbles to his right, stops, fakes the shot to juke the defender, then dribbles again and makes...
Explain this. First of all it’s the NBA and players at that level should know the most basic rules. Secondly, how do three referees miss the call after the player dribbles, stops and picks up, dribbles again and scores. Maybe Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors has found an exception to the rule and chose [...]
The Toronto Raptors are 8-2 in their last 10 games (12-20 overall) after last night’s 102-79 win over the Blazers.In the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game, Amir Johnson showed why NBA rules do not apply to him.Johnson takes one dribble to his right, picks the ball up, shot fakes to get J.J. Hickson off his feet, and then drives again to his right without the ball being...
Amir Johnson had 17 points in the Toronto Raptors win over the Trail Blazers last night. After watching this Gif you will probably wonder why he didn't have 15 points. Not sure how the refs let him get away with this walk. I guess the jump stop must have fooled them all.
Check out our Home Page for more stories and follow us on Twitter and Facebook
The NBA gets its fair share of criticism for often playing fast and loose with rules such as traveling, palming and continuation after fouls. One rule that usually gets called, though, is double-dribbling.
That didn’t stop Raptors forward Amir Johnson from getting away with it on Wednesday night, taking a long pause in between dribbles before scoring a runner against the Trail...
Someone needs to give NBA refs a refresher course on what it means for a player to double-dribble. You know, dribbling the ball, then stopping, then dribbling the ball again is a no-no in the NBA. However, it seems the refs during last night's Raptors-Blazers game forgot all about it.
During the first quarter of the game, Raptors' Amir Johnson took did a blatant double...
Terrence Ross scored a career-high 26 points, DeMar DeRozan had 24 and the Toronto Raptors snapped an eight-game losing streak against Portland by beating the Trail Blazers 102-79 on Wednesday night.
Ed Davis had 19 points and Amir Johnson 17 in Toronto's first victory over the Trail Blazers since a 116-109 double-overtime win on Jan. 13, 2008.
Ross had a career-best six 3...
On the Road Again
The Portland Trail Blazers will be hitting the road after vanquishing the Philadelphia 76ers at home to put their record once again above .500 on the season (15-14). They will need to play particularly well on their road streak, however, to keep their heads above the water; especially when considering their first game on this road trip is against the New York Knicks...
TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors are a different team than the one that lost to the Portland Trail Blazers last month. In their rematch with the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, the Raptors led all the way to record a decisive 102-79 victory before an announced crowd of 18,117 at Air Canada Centre. "It was totally different," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "Today, with...
Terrence Ross scored a career high 26 points in the Raptors' 102-79 win over his hometown Blazers.
Fabricio Oberto, a member of the 2007 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, is making a return to the basketball court.
The last time NBA fans saw him as a member of the Portland Trailblazers when he was forced to retire due to a heart arrhythmia.
He made a return to play in the FIBA Americas Championship where Argentina defeated Brazil, but couldn't participate in the 2012...
After starting the season at 4-19, the Toronto Raptors have won seven out of their last eight to pull themselves back into the playoff hunt.During Wednesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, rookie Terrence Ross caught fire and hit this impressive buzzer beater to end the first half: