Lillard scores 24, Blazers hold off NBA-best Raptors 128-122
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 15, 2018 02:15 PM
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, hits a shot over Toronto Raptors forward CJ Miles, left, and guard Fred VanVleet, center, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. The Blazers won 128-122. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 24 points and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a two-game slide with a confidence-boosting 128-122 victory over the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
Zach Collins scored 16 points and Seth Curry added a season-high 13, including three key tbhree-pointers at the start of the fourth quarter. Both were part of a Portland bench that outscored Toronto's reserves 58-26.
Kawhi Leonard returned after missing two games and had 28 points for the Raptors (23-8), who played without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Danny Green added 19 points and 11 rebounds, matching his season high with five triples.
Portland led by 16 in the fourth quarter but Leonard and C.J. Miles made consecutive three's to pull the Raptors to 117-113 with 2:44 left.
Lillard hit a three-pointer for Portland before Leonard had another three and Fred VanVleet made a layup to get Toronto to 120-118. CJ McCollum and Al Farouq-Aminu answered with consecutive three's to extend Portland's lead to 126-118 with just under a minute to go. Leonard dunked on the other end, but the Raptors couldn't get any closer.
Portland was in first place in the Western Conference after beating Washington on the road back on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19, PHL time) to improve to 11-5. But the team lost eight of 11 going into Friday night's (Saturday, PHL time) game to tumble into ninth in the conference.
The Raptors, meanwhile, had lost just three previous games on the road this season.
The victory snapped a six-game Portland losing streak to the Raptors.
Lowry sat out with a left thigh bruise. VanVleet started in his place and finished with 21 points.
Lowry led the Raptors with 23 points in a 113-93 win over Golden State on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The victory was costly, however. Jonas Valanciunas dislocated his thumb in the game and required surgery. He will be in a cast for the next four weeks. Valanciunas was averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.
Portland was coming off a pair of losses on the road to Houston and Memphis.
The Blazers went up 42-31 in the first half after Meyers Leonard's alley-oop dunk from Evan Turner. Portland led by as many as 13 and went into the break in front 58-50.
Leonard, who was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, had eight points to open the third quarter and his jumper got the Raptors to 59-64. But Leonard picked up his fourth foul later in the quarter and went to the bench for a while.
OG Anunoby's jumper closed the Raptors to 82-80 but Collins answered with a three-pointer for the Blazers. After Portland had a 91-89 edge going into the fourth, Curry made a pair of three-pointers and the Blazers pushed the lead to 101-90.
Curry hit another triple to give Portland a 107-93 advantage.
Raptors: Former Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher was called up from the G-League on Thursday (Friday, PHL time). He will help fill the void created by Valanciunas' absence. ... It was the third of a four-game road trip for Toronto.
Trail Blazers: It was Portland's third straight win at home. ... There was a sizable contingent of Raptors fans and several Canadian flags at the Moda Center. One group sang along loudly to the Canadian national anthem before the game.
Raptors: Play at Denver on Sunday (Monday, PHL time).
Trail Blazers: Portland has a one-game road trip to play the Clippers on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time).