TORONTO (AP)—Steve Blake knew exactly what to do when he got the ball in a close game Sunday.
Blake drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 8 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers spoiled Toronto coach Jay Triano’s home debut with a 98-97 victory over the Raptors.
“That last play I got the ball and I wanted to be aggressive,” Blake said. “They were playing good defense so I just wanted to create something off of their defense.”
Roy scored to tie it at 95 with 48 seconds left, but Chris Bosh, his head bandaged after receiving two stitches at halftime to repair a gash on his forehead—thanks to an elbow from Oden—stepped back to sink a 14-foot jumper with 27 seconds to go.
Blake then drained his 3 over Jose Calderon, and Bosh missed his final shot.
“We had a lot of rebound attempts and putbacks and it popped out to him,” Roy said of Blake. “He took a big shot and he had a lot of pressure on that shot. He showed us what he can do and he makes big shots and we needed that one tonight.”
Jermaine O’Neal scored a season-high 24 and blocked six shots and Bosh added 19 points, but it wasn’t enough to give Triano his first win as the Raptors lost their fourth straight game.
Portland had won its first seven games against Eastern Conference opponents and five straight overall before a 93-78 loss at Boston on Friday. The Trail Blazers went 4-1 on a five-game trip, also winning at Detroit, New York and Washington.
“This is a tough game when you’ve been on the road as long as we have,” coach Nate McMillan said. “Sometimes your mind is on the plane before the game is over. One thing I’ve told our guys is let’s focus, let’s not get our minds on the end of the game and go on home. Let’s focus on this game and try and get this game. We knew Toronto would come out fighting and be very aggressive and they did.”
“We felt we deserved to win, it’s not we felt we got outplayed,” O’Neal said. “We felt like we played pretty good for the most part and just couldn’t get that last rebound.”
The Raptors led by as many as 16 early in the second quarter, but the Blazers rallied and led by 10 early in the fourth.
The Raptors found another gear in front of an energetic crowd at the Air Canada Centre and a long jumper by Kapono capped a 17-2 run that put them up by five with 3:41 left.
The Raptors shot 49 percent from the floor, but were outrebounded 48-31.
“Overall, I feel bad for our guys that we get a chance to reward them with a victory, we cleaned up an awful lot from what we had been doing,” Triano said. “I just feel bad for our guys because they deserved more, they deserved to carry a victory away from the improvements that we made.”
The 50-year-old Triano, a former longtime Canadian national team player and coach, became the NBA’s first Canadian head coach on Wednesday when he was named Sam Mitchell’s replacement on an interim basis that’s expected to last the remainder of the season.
The native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, wants to get the Raptors running more, and the pace of the game, especially in the opening 12 minutes, was noticeably quicker.
“Not playing against a set defense is key,” Bosh said. “It’s easy shots, we want to run for layups, if we don’t run for layups, we run right into our offense and it’s tough for teams to guard that. We have to continue to run, you have to be in shape, there’s no messing around.”
Raptors forward Kris Humphries sat out with tendinitis in his knee. … The game was the first of three in four days for Toronto. The Raptors play in Cleveland on Tuesday then are back home Wednesday to host T.J. Ford and the Indiana Pacers. … The game featured three Spanish national team players in Calderon and Portland’s Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez.