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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 7th (All times eastern)

Portland Trail Blazers (14-7) at Toronto Raptors (8-10), 1:00 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Toronto Raptors return home to face the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday after a disastrous three-game road trip in which Sam Mitchell lost his job as the team's head coach.

The Raptors concluded the swing at 0-3 on Friday when Utah's Mehmet Okur scored 21 points to lead the Jazz in a 114-87 rout of Toronto, spoiling the debut of interim head coach Jay Triano.

A day after the Denver Nuggets crushed Toronto, 132-93, on Tuesday at the Pepsi Center, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo fired Mitchell and replaced him with Triano, an assistant coach.

Mitchell had led the Raptors to the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and was the NBA's coach of the year for 2006-07, but Colangelo was unhappy with a sluggish start in which Toronto went just 5-9 after winning its first three games of the season. Triano, the first Canadian head coach in NBA history, is in his seventh season on the Raptors' staff.

Chris Bosh chipped in 18 points and 11 boards for the Raptors in the loss to Utah. Joey Graham ended with 13 points, while Jermaine O'Neal and Jose Calderon had 10 points apiece.

Portland, meanwhile, fell back down to earth on Friday in Boston when Kevin Garnett scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the mighty Celtics to their 11th straight win, with a 93-78 thrashing of the Blazers.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw had 13 points apiece for Portland, which lost to an Eastern Conference team for the first time this season and saw their six-game win streak come to an end.

Brandon Roy tallied 12 points in defeat, the Blazers first on a five-game road swing that ends in Toronto today.

The two teams split a home-and-home series a year ago with both winning on their home floor. Toronto, which is 4-4 at Air Canada Centre this season, has won two of its last three games with Portland, which is 7-7 away from the Rose Garden.

12/07 10:28:11 ET


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