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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 1st (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (25-21) at Portland Trail Blazers (33-13), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers have dropped two straight, but will try to get back on track Saturday night when they welcome the Toronto Raptors to the Moda Center.
Portland fell at the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, then got clobbered at home by the Memphis Grizzlies, 98-81, on Tuesday.
Two days after the lopsided loss at Golden State, the Blazers made just 34.5 percent of their shots in losing for the fourth time in six games.
"We just didn't have it for whatever reason," said Portland guard Wes Matthews. "No excuse, we just didn't play well enough. They came out with a sense of urgency that we didn't match."
LaMarcus Aldridge paced Portland with 27 points and 16 rebounds and Damian Lillard added 16 points in the setback. Both players were named as reserves for the Western Conference All-Star team.
Robin Lopez had 14 points, while Nicolas Batum chipped in 10.
The Portland bench managed only six points among seven players.
The Blazers begin a four-game eastern road trip after Saturday's contest. They will visit the Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Raptors have played great basketball of late, winning three in a row and five of their last six. Toronto has taken three straight on the road and still has to visit the Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers on this sojourn west.
DeMar DeRozan, fresh off receiving the news that he had been voted to his first All-Star Game, scored 19 points to lead the Raptors to a 100-90 decision over the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Terrence Ross added 18 points in Toronto's third straight victory. Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry donated 13 points apiece, and John Salmons had 11 points with nine assists in a reserve role.
"Playing defense and playing together. That's all we've been doing," said DeRozan. "If we do what we have to do on the defensive end we'll get easy shots, we can get any shot we want."
The Raptors were sensational, leading 86-70 after three quarters. The lead stretched to 25 points shortly into the fourth quarter and Toronto cruised to victory.
The Raptors forced 26 turnovers, which led to 29 points.
The Trail Blazers bested the Raptors in overtime in Toronto on Nov. 17 and it was their ninth victory in the last 10 in the series. Portland has won five straight as the host against the Raptors.
02/01 11:37:48 ET
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