When we look back on this season a loss the Portland at the Rose Garden might be considered a turning point. That was the game that both Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry went down with injury. The Raptors since that loss are 7-2 and playing a much better brand of team basketball on both ends of the floor.
This also marks the start of a season long 6 game homestand for the Raptors. The Raptors have a 7-5 home record so far this season. They ended 2013 winners of 7 of the last 8 games and they need to continue on this hot streak if they hope to climb back into playoff contention. They sit currently in eleventh place in the East and two of the teams in front of them are divisional rivals in Philadelphia and Boston.
Portland is hot in their own right and hold on the final playoff spot in the West currently. They have won 8 of their last 10 and are finally finding a way to win on the road. They come in off a major upset over the New York Knicks on New Year’s Day.
Batum led the charge with 26 points and rookie Damian Lillard had 21 points. The Blazer welcomed back Wes Matthews to the line-up from injury. While LaMarcus Aldridge the guy we passed on to take Andrea Bargnani had 14 rebounds, 7 of which came on the offensive glass, to go with 19 points against the Knicks.
This will not be an easy task for the Raptors but they should have the fresher legs with a couple days off and being back at home.
We are approaching that three week mark for Andrea Bargnani’s possible return to health. Rumours continue to circle but as things improve with return of Steve Nash in L.A it seems more unlike that is a landing spot for Bargnani. Lakers interest likely would be more in Calderon or Lowry at this point.
The Raptors continue to juggle their point guard situation since Kyle Lowry’s return to the line-up. I like his chances of keeping the Blazers rookie point guard under control over Jose Calderon. Although Lillard did not have a particularly good night vs. Toronto in the first match-up with just 10 points and 6 assists in the win for the Blazers. Aldridge did the damage in that 92-74 win for Portland with 30 points and 12 rebounds.
The Raptors are just 5-11 all-time at home against Portland. Raptors have lost their last 4 games at home against Portland. The last time they defeated Portland was a double OT win back on January 13, 2008 they won 116-109 on that night.