The Toronto Raptors started this game in a hurry, dashing out to a 10-0 lead, & were never caught. Portland twice clawed back to a 4-point deficit, but the Raps never endured one of those offensive droughts so prominent earlier in the season, & rolled to a well-deserved victory.
Terrence Ross was the story of the game, & I say that with apologies to DeMar DeRozan & Ed Davis (more on those 2 worthies later). The rookie provided convincing proof that his marvellous jump shot is a powerful weapon, burying 6/9 from beyond the arc. None was more thrilling than the long bomb which closed out the first half, off a cross-court how-did-he-see-him pass from Jose Calderon. Ross managed to find his way to the basket for other opportunities, pushing his game total to a personal record of 26 points to lead all scorers. Oddly enough, Portland’s high scorer was another rookie, a terrific Guard named Damian Lillard, who poured in 18. He & the Hornets’ Anthony Davis will be battling for the Rookie of the Year award all season, but it sure would be fun if Terrence could muscle his way into the debate.
The Raps’ dual Point Guard “system” was highly effective. Calderon & Kyle Lowry didn’t manage a single point between them, but both recognized their shooting wasn’t needed, & distributed effectively all night. Jose dished out 13 assists, & Kyle 9, against 2 turnovers. Beneficiaries of their fine passing, in addition to Terrence, were DeRozan & Davis. Both of them were wonderfully efficient; DeRozan made 11 of 17 shots [24 points], while Ed was even better, at 9/12 , including a respectable number of mid-range jumpers. Other players didn’t have as much fun. Pietrus & Gray were scoreless, & Alan Anderson had a number of good shots pop out on his way to a 2/9 night.
Amir Johnson, who’s boringly consistent (I’m kidding – I love this guy, & wish he could be cloned), more than chipped in with 17 points. Landry Fields, who’s finding his sea legs, finished with 7 points & 7 boards.
Portland’s offence was wheezy & off-balance all night. They managed only 19 assists as a team; the Raps had 34, a season high. The Blazers were frequently tossing up poor shots at the end of the shot clock, testimony to some excellent pressure defence by the Raps. LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star Power Forward, yet never got to the free throw line all night, & scored a quiet 14. He did lead all rebounders with 10.
A couple of interesting stats to close: the Raps “won” all four quarters, & Calderon played 41 seconds more than Lowry – good time management, Coach!
The Raptors next welcome the improving Sacramento Kings to the ACC Friday night.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.