Toronto Raptors

Seven thoughts as Raptors open road trip with narrow loss to Trail Blazers

The Toronto Raptors got their six-game road trip off to losing start, with a 118-113 defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.

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All five Raptors starters scored in double figures, led by 29 points from OG Anunoby and 20 from Pascal Siakam.

The Trail Blazers backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 53 points in the win as they move to 7-8 on the season and 6-1 on their home floor.

For more on this game, let's dive into some of the key takeaways:

1. OG Anunoby playing with confidence

Anunoby has been one of the Raptors' best players this season and the 24-year-old continues to make strides on the offensive end, knocking down a career-high six 3-pointers - all coming in the first half.

While he had the hot hand in the opening 24 minutes, scoring 23 points, he managed just six points in the second half.

With offensive options limited tonight due to their short rotation, the Raptors struggled to get him the ball as the game wore on.

2. Dame and CJ catch fire

When the Trail Blazers backcourt is locked in like this, they are a tough team to beat.

McCollum led the Blazers with 29 points and six assists on 11-of-18 shooting and 6-of-11 from the 3-point line, while Lillard recorded 24 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals on 10-of-21 shooting and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

The duo opened the fourth quarter burying bucket after bucket to go on a 10-0 run and put the Blazers in control before the Raptors cut the deficit to 105-101 with a 9-0 run of their own.

McCollum continued to score down the stretch and came up with a huge defensive play, meeting Scottie Barnes at the rim for the emphatic rejection.

Portland as a team shot 56.1 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three.

3. Raptors bench comes up short

The Raptors bench has struggled all season, sitting last in the league in points per game at 24.2. Tonight was an all too familiar story as they were outscored 37-12 by the Blazers reserves.

Khem Birch scored six and Svi Mykhailiuk and Malachi Flynn three each.

Without Goran Dragic, Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher in the lineup tonight, the Raptors' depth struggled to keep pace with the Blazers as Nick Nurse relied heavily on his starting group who each logged 39-plus minutes.

4. Hello Norm!

Former Raptors and 2019 NBA champion Norman Powell squared off against his former team for just the third time since joining the Trail Blazers.

He chipped in with 12 points and four rebounds in 32 minutes, while former Blazer Gary Trent Jr. had 18 points, six rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes.

5. Scottie Barnes' transition game is special

Barnes has been a key contributor on both ends for the Raptors early in his rookie season, but something that really stands out is his ability to just get the ball and go.

Countless times this season, the No. 4 overall pick has shown how dangerous he is in transition and in the clip above, he grabs the rebound and is straight down the court, pulling up for a midrange jumper. Getting easy buckets like that at such a young age is an elite skill.

His offensive game continues to impress, getting to the rim and finding his spots from midrange, while his defence speaks for itself, switching between guarding the Blazers backcourt and center Jusuf Nurkic with minimal fuss.

He finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and two assists.

6. Nassir Little goes BOOM!

Early in the second quarter, Trail Blazers guard Nassir Little caught Pascal Siakam with the fake and took it straight down main street for the two-handed flush!

7. What's next?

The Raptors continue their six-game road trip and will be back in action on Thursday, Nov. 18 against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

See you then!

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