Heartbreak in Portland

On Monday night, the Toronto Raptors faced a red-hot CJ McCollum and the Portland Trailblazers. Despite leading for a majority of the night, it was a 4th quarter scoring draught that allowed the Trailblazers back into the game and ultimately resulted in their 112-111 win.

Toronto has had a history of performing well on the second night of back-to-backs. Since 2017-2018, they are 25-11. With a 10 point lead going into the final 12 minutes and another solid outing for the team, it seemed this trend would continue. However, with a let-up on defence and a minutes long scoring draught, they left the door open and Portland took over. With less then 5 minutes in the game, a 10-0 run gave the Trailblazers the lead and life.

CJ McCollum led all players with 30 points on 52.6% shooting. With 9 seconds left he scored the go-ahead bucket to secure the win for Portland. In 10 games, he is averaging a career high 28.1 points. Along with Damian Lillard, the pair continue to be among the leagues elite backcourt duos. In Monday’s comeback win, Lillard scored 23 points and 7 rebounds on an efficient 50% from deep.

Despite losing Jusuf Nurkic to injury early in the game, Enes Kanter and Carmelo Anthony were huge for their bench. In 15 minutes, Kanter had 14 points, with Anthony adding 20 more for the Trailblazers.

In another tough loss, Pascal Siakam had himself a career night. He recorded his 1st ever triple double, putting up 22 points, 13 rebounds and a career high 10 assists on 52.9% shooting. For the 5th straight game, he has improved. He was poised and confident. The willingness to take the shots, no matter how tough, has never deterred Siakam from attempting them, nor does it seem like it will as the season continues.

OG Anunoby also had himself a night. He scored 18 points on 6 of 9 from the field. The bench provided solid numbers, with Chris Boucher leading the way with 20 points and Norman Powell adding 10 points in 20 minutes.

Toronto did just about everything right in 43 minutes. However, the biggest change has been their inability to play an entire 48 minutes consistently. Last year, they lost 4 games when leading by 10 points. This season, that have lost 6. Most of these losses have been the result of lacklustre defence and allowing their opponent to go on scoring runs down the stretch. Every game they are getting closer. But with a 2-8 start, the team really has to dig in for a full 48 minutes.

Next up… The Raptors travel back home to Amalie Arena to face LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets. Tipoff is 7:30pm EASTERN.

Game Note: This will be the first time this season where no fans will be allowed into the arena.

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