National Basketball Association
Toronto at Portland
When: 10:00 PM ET, Friday, December 14, 2018
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The Toronto Raptors are not just contenders to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, they are announcing themselves as a team capable of winning an NBA championship. The Raptors will try to avoid a letdown after a big victory over Golden State when they continue the road trip by visiting the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
Toronto dominated the two-time defending champions in a 113-93 road win on Wednesday despite being without star Kawhi Leonard (hip), but some Raptors managed to retain the chip on their shoulder. "I'm sure we could have done better," point guard Kyle Lowry told reporters. "I'm always holding my team to a higher standard and holding myself to a higher standard. We had some breakdowns. We just have to continue to get better." The Trail Blazers are returning home after an unsuccessful two-game road trip that included losses at Houston and Memphis. Shooting guard CJ McCollum scored 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting in Wednesday's 92-83 loss to the Grizzlies but the rest of the team went 16-of-60 from the floor.
10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One (Toronto), NBCS Northwest (Portland)ABOUT THE RAPTORS (23-7):
Lowry went 4-of-28 from the floor over a four-game span before rediscovering his stroke and knocking down 17-of-31 in the first two games of the road trip - both wins. "It's unusual to see a guy who plays at a high level like that go through slumps," point guard Fred VanVleet told ESPN of Lowry. "But it comes and goes. It was just shot-making, really. It wasn't like he wasn't showing effort. He was probably frustrated he wasn't making shots, but that comes and goes, and he's right back where we want him, and where we need him to be." Leonard sat out the first two games of the trip and remains day-to-day.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (15-13):
Point guard Damian Lillard (4-of-18) and center Jusuf Nurkic (1-of-15) endured the toughest nights on Wednesday, and Lillard finished with 14 points to end a string of five straight games scoring at least 25 points. "As the game went along, I thought we still did a pretty good job defending, but the ball didn’t go in for us," Lillard told reporters. "CJ was the only person making shots." Nurkic did manage to pull down 10 rebounds in the loss, giving him double-digit boards in five consecutive games.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Raptors C Jonas Valanciunas left Wednesday's game with a dislocated thumb and is day-to-day.
2. McCollum is averaging 28 points in three games since returning from an ankle injury.
3. Toronto swept the two-game series in each of the last three seasons.PREDICTION:
Raptors 116, Trail Blazers 115
Stats and Records