Portland Trail Blazers fade in fourth quarter in 114-106 loss to Toronto Raptors: Game rewind

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Portland Trail Blazers fade in fourth quarter in 114-106 loss to Toronto Raptors: Game rewind

Post by admin » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:16 am

Portland Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood scored a team-leading 25 points in his return from injury, while CJ McCollum broke out of his shooting slump to hit two big game-tying shots in the fourth quarter Wednesday.

But it wasn’t enough.

After McCollum sank a game-tying step-back jumper with 7:34 left in the game, the Toronto Raptors put the game to bed with a 14-0 run. The Raptors (8-3) went on to beat the Blazers (4-8) 114-106, handing Portland its sixth loss in the last seven games.“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “But the stretch with six or seven minutes left in the game, we just had a rash of missed shots and turnovers that took a tie game from zero to 10.”

TOP PERFORMERS

Blazers guard Damian Lillard entered Wednesday averaging 32.5 points per game, but he was a non-factor against the Raptors, who did a good job of shutting down the Blazers star. Lillard, who had reached double-digits in scoring in 230 straight games before Wednesday, finished with just nine points in 37 minutes and looked to be out of gas by the end of the game.

Instead, it was Hood, McCollum and Anfernee Simons that led the Blazers Wednesday night.

Hood, who had played just six minutes over the last three games due to back spasms, made the most of his return to the lineup. He hit five three-pointers and finished the game with 25 points. McCollum recorded 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Simons scored 17 points.

But the Blazers struggled to contain Toronto forward Pascal Siakam and guard Fred VanVleet. Siakam led Toronto with 36 points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter. VanVleet recorded 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

“I wish we could take back those last five, six minutes," Hood said. “Other than that, I think we played well enough to win or to be in the game. Give credit to them, they did a helluva a job of executing, particularly on the offensive end.”

NASSIR LITTLE EARNS FIRST START

There was a surprise name on Portland’s lineup sheet Wednesday night.

Stotts opted to start rookie Nassir Little at power forward Wednesday in place of Anthony Tolliver, who has been ineffective. Stotts has been forced to experiment with multiple options at power forward ever since Zach Collins sustained a serious shoulder injury during the third game of the season.

Little, who the Blazers drafted with the No. 25 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, wasn’t even supposed to see the floor this season. Simons, who the Blazers drafted at No. 24 in 2018, made just one start in his rookie season before developing into a key option off the bench this year. Little expected that he would have to wait for his opportunity as well.

But Stotts informed Little ahead of Wednesday’s game that he would not only be starting, but would be tasked with guarding Siakam. It was a difficult assignment for Little, but he exceeded expectations. Siakam finished with 36 points, but had only scored 16 points when Little left the game late in the third quarter.

“I thought he had a really good game," Stotts said. "I thought he held his own with Siakam defensively. He thought he brought a lot of energy. He played hard.”

Little held his own on offense as well. He made a tremendous block on a Stanley Johnson shot with three minutes left in the second quarter. He then came out of nowhere to snatch away an offensive rebound from Toronto with 1:08 left in the second quarter before passing the ball off to Lillard, who missed a three-pointer. Portland regained possession and Little scored on a step-back jumper to give the Blazers a 51-49 lead. He then sank a three-pointer to give the Blazers a 67-63 lead with 6:06 left in the third quarter.

But he also showed his youth at times. Late in the third quarter, Little got his own rebound after missing a three-pointer, but missed a dunk as he drove to the basket. He tried to recover by diving at a loose ball at half court, but picked up a foul, his fourth of the night.

Little finished the game with seven points, five rebounds and a block in 23 minutes.

INJURIES ON BOTH SIDES

Portland has been hard hit with injuries this season, but so has Toronto.

The Raptors were without two starters in forward OG Anunoby (Right eye contusion) and guard Kyle Lowry (Distal phalanx fracture – left thumb) Wednesday night. Toronto was also missing center Serge Ibaka (Sprained right ankle) and guard Patrick McCaw (Left knee surgery).

While Hood returned to the lineup Wednesday, Portland is still navigating long-term injuries to big men Jusuf Nurkic (left lower leg fracture), Pau Gasol (left foot fracture) and Collins.

“Getting Rodney back was good for us tonight,” Stotts said. “He certainly made a difference for us. Getting Nassir, he played some good minutes at 4, so that was encouraging. But our test right now is winning games in the fourth quarter.”

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