Lowry's Raptors too hot for Trail Blazers
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP):
No matter what city they visit lately, the Toronto Raptors feel right at home.
Kyle Lowry scored 27 points and the Raptors won their franchise-best seventh consecutive road game on Monday night with a 95-91 victory over the skidding Portland Trail Blazers.
It was the second stop on Toronto's six-game swing out West, which will take the Raptors (22-8) to tough places such as Golden State and San Antonio.
But home or road these days, Toronto is proving to be a very difficult opponent. Though the Raptors' usually prolific offence was slowed by Portland's trapping defence, they found a way to pull out a highly competitive game in which neither team led by more than six points.
Toronto, had reached 100 points in 16 straight games, used their defence and gritty play during the final five minutes to win their fourth in a row.
"A few years ago our guys would have kicked that one away by 15 or 20 points," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Toronto ran into a short-handed but extremely motivated Portland team that ultimately lost their sixth straight.
The Blazers (13-20) were without star guard Damian Lillard, who sat out with a sprained ankle. Lillard, averaging 27 points per game, was injured last Friday against San Antonio.
C.J. McCollum scored 27 points to lead the Blazers, who have lost 10 of 11.
Toronto kept Portland's runs to a minimum. The Raptors were particularly effective down the stretch, when they took the lead for good at 82-81 with 5:50 remaining on two free throws by Jonas Valanciunas.
Toronto, averaging 112 points per game this season, scored only 43 during the first half and had just 22 in the fourth quarter. Portland's blitzing, trapping defence made life difficult for the Raptors.
"Their defensive scheme was unbelievable tonight. Their bigs moved their feet well and I had a couple of turnovers trying to get around them," Lowry said.
Portland coach Terry Stotts said "it might have been our best defensive game of the season. We played with a lot of energy."
Patrick Patterson scored 15 points for Toronto, while Valanciunas had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Mason Plumlee had his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds for Portland.