Tue, 24 May 2022

Blazers try to secure winning road trip vs. Raptors

Field Level Media
23 Jan 2022, 10:05 GMT+10

The Portland Trail Blazers hope to finish a six-game road trip with a winning record Sunday night when they meet the Toronto Raptors.

The Trail Blazers improved to 3-2 on the trip with a 109-105 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night. The Trail Blazers are 5-15 on the road this season.The Raptors also won 109-105 Friday over the Washington Wizards to complete a five-game trip with a 2-3 record as rookie Scottie Barnes scored a career-best 27 points.

Playing without Damian Lillard (abdomen), Norman Powell (personal) and Larry Nance Jr. (knee), Portland got 29 points and 17 rebounds from Jusuf Nurkic on Friday.

"Nurk has taken his game to another level," Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. "He's really settled in."

CJ McCollum scored 24 points and Anfernee Simons added 21 for the Trail Blazers, who were behind 100-89 with 7:19 remaining before closing the game with a 20-5 surge.

"Our effort was incredible," Billups said. "The way that we actually executed down the stretch. We've had a lot of games, even last game, where we struggled in the fourth quarter. But we were just so resilient. We had so many guys play well in the game."

The Blazers were outscored 26-12 during the fourth quarter on Wednesday in a 104-92 loss to the Miami Heat.

"The fourth quarter was a little bit up and down," Simons said. "But at the end, we made some big plays. Got some big stops. Just came out with a great win."

"We did a really good job of changing up our defenses and our coverages," Billups said. "We went from zone to man and changed some of those things up. Double teamed a little bit. We kept them off guard, I thought."

Portland defeated Toronto at home 118-113 on Nov. 15 with McCollum scoring 29 points. OG Anunoby scored 27 points for Toronto.

In the Raptors' win at Washington, Barnes led the game in scoring and also had eight rebounds.

"When he stretches out, he's big out there and I think he can use that length to his advantage," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "And tonight he got it in places, or took it to places where he could do that and he just stayed with it."

As a 20-year-old rookie, Barnes is still learning.

"He has a lot of up and down performances which a lot of rookies do," Nurse said. "Tonight was, obviously, one of his best games, I think. Shot a pretty high percentage, (12-for-19) stayed with it, got the ball where he wanted to, was aggressive. So he's got to try to build on it."

"I'm still developing my game," Barnes said. " My game's going to keep expanding, so I'm not really limiting my game to one aspect."

Nurse removed Barnes from the game with 10:07 to play in the first quarter and put him back in with 5:34 remaining in the first.

"(Barnes) was aggressive, he was physical tonight, he was assertive from the jump," said Fred VanVleet, who made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 59.5 seconds left in the game. "He had a couple of miscues early, I think. (Nurse) took him out and got him right back in."

Gary Trent Jr. returned after missing six games with an ankle injury and scored 13 points in 29 minutes for Toronto.

--Field Level Media

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