PORTLAND, Hours. (AP) – If only the Trail Blazers could understand why they are successful at home but struggle away.
CJ McCollum scored 29 points and Damian Lillard added 24 to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 118-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.
The Blazers, who were playing the second of a brace, improved to 6-1 at home. It is in stark contrast to the street, where Portland is 1-7.
“When we play at home, it’s a different team than when we play away. This is just the truth. And I’m not sure what it is, “Lillard said.” I think when you are at home there is only one level of comfort and support that you feel from the fans. But at the same time, we are NBA players. We play a lot on the road. “
OG Anunoby scored 27 points for the Raptors, who lost five out of six. Pascal Siakam added 20.
“They made tough shots,” Anunoby said. “We were playing hard. They are making tough shots, but we were playing hard. That’s how it goes sometimes. They have good players on the team. “
It was a very satisfying fourth quarter for both teams. Larry Nance Jr.’s alley-oop dunk gave Portland a 99-89 lead before McCollum’s triple took him to 105-92.
The Raptors recovered with a 9-0 run, bringing Fred VanVleet’s triple to 105-101 with 5:34 remaining. Portland did not allow Toronto to get close and Lillard’s 3 extended the Blazers’ lead at 110-101.
VanVleet scored 3 consecutive points to narrow it down to 112-111 at 1:51 from the end. After Norman Powell made the free throws for Portland, McCollum hit a jumper to make the five-point play. Nance’s dunk nearly sealed the win with 38.5 seconds left.
Nance finished with 15 points off the bench.
“We have a day off tomorrow, so I can sleep all day if I want. So there was no excuse for not using every bit of energy we had, “Nance said.” I thought we did a terrific job in the fourth quarter fighting their races and creating some of our own. “
Lillard was dubious before the game due to an abdominal strain, but he started. Lillard missed the Blazers’ defeat in Denver Sunday night through injury.
Lillard had a slow start to the season, averaging 20 points per game, well off last season’s average.
VanVleet returned to the Raptors after missing a game with groin pain, but center Precious Achiuwa missed the second straight game with tendonitis in his right shoulder.
Toronto was leading 14 early and entered the second quarter with a 33-24 lead. Anunoby scored 14 points, including four from 3 points in the first quarter alone.
The Blazers ended the first half with a 9-0 run, taking the lead by 61-60 at half-time.
Portland extended the lead to eight in the third quarter, but Toronto drew 85 late on Malachi Flynn’s driving layup.
Lillard and McCollum scored three consecutive points to give the Blazers a 93-85 lead.
“The start of the second and the start of the fourth really disappointed us,” said Raptors manager Nick Nurse. “He changed the momentum and put us in a hole in the fourth.”
Raptors: It was the first of a six game road trip. … Gary Trent Jr. played his first two seasons in Portland. … All five Toronto holders were double-digit.
“I still feel we have a lot of room to grow,” Toronto center Khem Birch said. “We have a lot of young kids who are still developing. We just have to be patient and it will come soon. “
Trail Blazers: Lillard scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half in the second quarter. … Portland was coming from a 1-3 road trip. … Lillard has had eight assists. … McCollum had six triples.
The Raptors on Thursday visit the Utah Jazz.
The Trail Blazers are hosting the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
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