Trail Blazers outlast Raptors in OT

Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- It was a game that nearly got away from the Portland Trail Blazers but they kept their winning streak alive on Sunday thanks to guard Damian Lillard.
After blowing a big lead in the fourth quarter the Trail Blazers came back to defeat the Toronto Raptors 118-110 in overtime for their sixth successive victory.
Lillard scored seven of his 25 points in overtime and forward LaMarcus Aldridge also scored 25 with 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers who led by 17 points with 8:18 to play in the game.
"The overtime we played well, particularly defensively and obviously we made some shots," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "But Toronto did a great job of getting back into the game."
Forward Rudy Gay's driving layup at the buzzer tied the game at 102 for the Raptors, who outscored the Blazers 13-2 down the stretch of the fourth quarter.
But Lillard took charge in overtime by going 3-for-3 and adding an assist, his eighth of the game.
"I thought we did a really good job of getting back into it and sending it into overtime by really closing it out," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
Forward Nicolas Batum added 24 points for the Trail Blazers (8-2). Guard Wesley Matthews scored 17 points and guard Mo Williams had 13 points and seven assists coming off the bench.
"We can't mistake what this winning streak has been," Lillard said. "We have to understand how we've been able to win games and not think it's just that we're talented and we're doing this and making shots.
"We've got to understand that we work hard in practice and we stay together and we stay the course each. We've got to keep our mind set every game so we can try to continue to have success."
Gay led the Raptors with 30 points and 10 rebounds and guard DeMar DeRozan had 29 points. Guard Kyle Lowry had 10 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for Toronto (4-7). Center Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and nine rebounds.
"They have big men and wings who can shoot and they have a really good offense so it was kind of hard for us," Valanciunas said. "They're playing a really good game right now, in and out. We were double teaming Aldridge in the low post and that's how they got open looks from the 3-point line. We regrouped. We need to build, we need to win those games."
The Blazers opened the overtime on a driving layup by Lillard but Gay answered with a 3-pointer and the Raptors led 105-104.
After a Portland turnover, Gay hit two free throws to put Toronto up by three points but Lillard tied the game at 107 with a 3-point shot. Lillard's jumper put Portland into a two-point lead and after Gay missed a jumper. Batum hit a 3-pointer and the Blazers led 112-107 with 1:29 left in overtime. Batum hit another 3-pointer to make the lead eight points but DeRozan's 3-pointer reduced the lead to five with 30 seconds left.
Toronto forward Amir Johnson fouled out with 20.1 seconds to play and Matthews made one of the two free throws.
The Trail Blazers entered the fourth quarter leading by 10 points, and had been up to 16 points with 8:49 to play in the game after Lillard scored eight successive points -- including one 3-point shot and a 3-point play.
The Raptors whittled the lead back down to 10 when Lowry made a driving layup with 6:28 left on the clock. A pair of free throws by Portland center Robin Lopez put the lead at 13. Gay's dunk with 2:57 left in the game cut the lead to 98-89.
Gay hit a pair of free throws with 1:52 to play to bring the Raptors to within seven points, and Gay's dunk made it a five-point game with 1:30 left.
The Raptors reduced the lead to three when Lowry made two free throws with 59.5 seconds to play. Aldridge made two free throws to put Portland up by five again. Lopez fouled out with 41.4 seconds to play and DeRozan made one of two free throws and then scored after the Raptors grabbed the rebound on his second-shot miss to make the score 102-100 for the Blazers but Gay tied it.
Aldridge completed a 3-point play by making the free throw after his layup at the end of the first half to give the Blazers a 57-54 lead and the Blazers built the lead to 79-69 after three quarters.
NOTES: Trail Blazers assistant coach Jay Triano is Canada's Senior Men's National Team coach and was the Raptors' coach from 2008-11. ... The Raptors ended an eight-game losing streak to the Blazers Jan. 2 with a 102-79 win at Air Canada Centre. ... When Raptors G DeMar DeRozan equaled a career high with 37 points in Friday's 96-80 loss to the Chicago Bulls it was the third time he reached that total in his career. ... G CJ McCollum (fractured left foot) and C Meyers Leonard (gastroenteritis) are still out of the Blazers lineup while the Raptors reported no injuries. ... The Blazers' next game is Monday when they visit the Brooklyn Nets. ... The Raptors will play their next game on Wednesday when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers.

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