After enjoying some of the Miami nightlife and getting their brains bashed in by the Heat on Sunday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers are on game four of five on the east coast swing. Tonight they were in Toronto to finish their season series against Kyle Lowry and the Raptors.
No Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, or Fred VanVleet for the Raptors tonight. The last time the two teams got together Damian Lillard only had nine points in a loss. Before the game, there is some talk of Anfernee Simons being in the dunk contest this year. That’s not the worst idea.
What might have been a bad idea is watching this game instead of the Ohio State-Maryland game (Go Terps!). The first quarter was incredibly uneventful until the final few minutes. Lillard drove to the basket and took an inadvertent elbow to the back of the head from Chris Boucher. Unlike the cheap shot that Jadeveon Clowney gave to Carson Wentz on Sunday.
The Blazers also scored a season-low 15 in the first quarter. Not a great start to this one.
The second quarter was a crash course in how not to rebound brought to you by Anthony Tolliver and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Raptors were able to get 13 second-chance points in the second quarter alone. Lillard has not looked sharp either since returning to the game. He had a few questionable passes and drives.
Carmelo Anthony had 13 points and was the only Blazers to score in double figures in the first half. Hassan Whiteside had 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. The Blazers shot only 25% from three and sub 40% from the field in the half.
To start the third quarter the Blazers showed some life. They came out and scored the first six points and then Kyle Lowry wasn’t going to have any more of that. He scored, assisted, or hockey assisted on the next 13 points for the Raptors.
Melo continued his hot shooting into the third quarter. For some reason, he got pulled early in the third after making three straight shots. I don’t understand Stotts’ rotations. Melo was hot, he’s in shape, leave him in. I think most good coaches would let him ride. Melo could probably play forty minutes a night if asked. He’d probably 48. Melo is lean, people!
Tonight, Blazers not named Hassan Whiteside are not going to get rebounds.
And in the fourth quarter, the game got interesting.
The Blazers kept chipping away throughout the quarter. They were down by as many 11 in the fourth, they’d get close, Toronto would score four in a row, Blazers would score five, Raptors would score four more. They nickel and dimed the lead down until Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard willed their way to a tie at 99-99 tie with 37.5 seconds left.
Melo hit his 28th point of the night off a jumper at the top of the key to put the Blazers up by the final margin. Kyle Lowry almost hit a desperation three at the buzzer.
Holy crap, did not see this coming at all.
Dame had 20, 11 in the fourth. Hassan Whiteside added 14 points, 16 boards, and 7 blocks.