Struggles Continue

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CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard too Much for Struggling Raptors

Off the heels of a disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors looked to bounce back in Oregon.

Easier said than done as they took on one of the best home teams (who are also one of the worst road teams) in the NBA in the Portland Trail Blazers.

The home/away splits for the Blazers this season are mind-blowing but if there is one thing they have shown to do early on in the season its take care of business at the Moda Center. That is exactly what they did on Monday night as their superstar backcourt duo of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 53 points to help push the Blazers to a 118-113 victory.

“When we play at home, it’s a different team than when we play on the road. That’s just the truth. And I’m not sure what it is,” Lillard said, after the Blazers improved to 6-1 at home. “I think when you’re at home there’s just a level of comfort and support that you feel from the fans. But at the same time, we’re NBA players. We play on the road a lot.”

The Raptors were led by OG Anunoby, who put up a team-high 29 points, while Pascal Siakam added 20 points, six rebounds and six assists in the loss. Gary Trent Jr. scored 18 points in his return to Portland.

“They made tough shots,” Anunoby said. “We were playing hard. They’re making tough shots, but we were playing hard. That’s how it goes sometimes. They have good players on their team.”

With this latest defeat, the Raptors have now lost five of their last six games and have fallen out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. While the offense has picked up after a slow start to the season, it is their blueprint defense that has been sputtering of late as the Raptors woke up this morning ranked 19th in defensive rating.

“The start of the second and the start of the fourth really let us down,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It changed the momentum and put us in a hole in the fourth.”

Things only get tougher from here as the Raptors have five more games remaining on this six game road trip with the next one being in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz.

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