(Sports Network) - The Portland Trail Blazers could be minus two starters on
Monday night as they attempt to extend a seven-game series winning streak over
the visiting Toronto Raptors.
Portland is coming off a 99-80 defeat to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday in
the first of six straight at home. Not only did the Trail Blazers lose their
second straight and for the sixth time in eight games, forward Nicolas Batum
and guard Wesley Matthews were left hobbled by game's end.
Batum suffered a back injury and said afterward he hoped to be ready for
Thursday's game against San Antonio, leaving him extremely questionable for
tonight. Matthews, meanwhile, did not practice on Sunday after suffering a
left hip flexor injury versus the Kings.
Matthews, who had 14 points, is also questionable for this game, leaving his
string of 250 straight games played in jeopardy.
"It's tough. When you have Nic and Wes on the wing, teams have to honor their
ability to knock down threes and their ability to get in the paint and make
plays for other guys," noted guard Damian Lillard. "When they went down, it
was kind of like every time I got in the paint, more attention was on me
without them on the floor. Of course it was tough."
Both forward Victor Claver and guard Will Barton were recalled from the NBADL
LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while J.J. Hickson ended with
14 points and 15 boards in Saturday's loss.
Portland outscored Sacramento by 10 in the second quarter to close the gap,
but never led after halftime and was outscored 34-24 in the third.
"Sacramento played harder and better than we did. We were out of sorts
offensively all night, whether it was turnovers, finishing at the rim or
spacing," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "It was just a rough night at
Aldridge certainly did not have a rough night in the lone meeting between
Portland and Toronto a season ago. In Toronto, the forward notched 33 points
and 23 rebounds to lead the Blazers to their seventh straight win over the
Toronto has not beaten Portland since Jan. 13, 2008 at home and has lost four
straight and eight of its last nine on the road in this series.
The Raptors may struggle again in Portland tonight given that they have not
won on the road in almost a month. Toronto lost its 10 straight as the guest
on Sunday, falling 102-83 versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 points and his layup with 9:06 left in the fourth quarter
pulled Toronto to within two. However, Los Angeles responded with an 18-1 run
to put the game away.
"We hit a wall and lost rhythm," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. "The
ball stopped moving. They turned up the defensive intensity."
Linas Kleiza added 17 points in the setback and Amir Johnson had 11 points and
Toronto has lost four in a row and 10 of its last 11 overall, falling to 0-13
this season when giving up at least 100 points in a game.
The Raptors close a five-game road trip this evening and sit at just 1-13 as
the guest this season. That lone road win came on Nov. 13 at Indiana.
The Sports Network