Damian Lillard had 24 points and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a two-game slide with a confidence-boosting 128-122 victory over the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Zach Collins scored 16 points and Seth Curry added a season-high 13, including three key 3-pointers at the start of the fourth quarter. Both were part of a Portland bench that outscored Toronto’s reserves 58-26.
Kawhi Leonard returned after missing two games and had 28 points for the Raptors (23-8), who played without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Danny Green added 19 points and 11 rebounds, matching his season high with five 3s.
Portland led by 16 in the fourth quarter but Leonard and C.J. Miles made consecutive 3s to pull the Raptors to 117-113 with 2:44 left.
Lillard hit a 3-pointer for Portland before Leonard had another 3 and Fred VanVleet made a layup to get Toronto to 120-118. CJ McCollum and Al Farouq-Aminu answered with consecutive 3s to extend Portland’s lead to 126-118 with just under a minute to go. Leonard dunked on the other end, but the Raptors couldn’t get any closer.
Portland was in first place in the Western Conference after beating Washington on the road back on Nov. 18 to improve to 11-5. But the team lost eight of 11 going into Friday night’s game to tumble into ninth in the conference.
The Raptors, meanwhile, had lost just three previous games on the road this season.
The victory snapped a six-game Portland losing streak to the Raptors.
Lowry sat out with a left thigh bruise. VanVleet started in his place and finished with 21 points.
Lowry led the Raptors with 23 points in a 113-93 win over Golden State on Wednesday. The victory was costly, however. Jonas Valanciunas dislocated his thumb in the game and required surgery. He will be in a cast for the next four weeks. Valanciunas was averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.
Portland was coming off a pair of losses on the road to Houston and Memphis.
The Blazers went up 42-31 in the first half after Meyers Leonard’s alley-oop dunk from Evan Turner. Portland led by as many as 13 and went into the break in front 58-50.
Leonard, who was 0 for 5 from the field in the first half, had eight points to open the third quarter and his jumper got the Raptors to 59-64. But Leonard picked up his fourth foul later in the quarter and went to the bench for a while.
OG Anunoby’s jumper closed the Raptors to 82-80 but Collins answered with a 3-pointer for the Blazers. After Portland had a 91-89 edge going into the fourth, Curry made a pair of 3-pointers and the Blazers pushed the lead to 101-90.
Curry hit another 3 to give Portland a 107-93 advantage.
Raptors: Former Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher was called up from the G-League on Thursday. He will help fill the void created by Valanciunas’ absence. … It was the third of a four-game road trip for Toronto.
Trail Blazers: It was Portland’s third straight win at home. … There was a sizable contingent of Raptors fans and several Canadian flags at the Moda Center. One group sang along loudly to the Canadian national anthem before the game.
Raptors: Play at Denver on Sunday.
Trail Blazers: Portland has a one-game road trip to play the Clippers on Monday.
Source: The Associated Press