Blazers at Raptors game-day Dino-bytes
An updated post-shootaround look at Wednesay’s Raptors game.
PORTLAND (16-14) at TORONTO (11-20)
Air Canada Centre
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet; RADIO: FAN590
WEB: Yes, we will be here with an IGBT starting just before 7 p.m.
Portland: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nik Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J. Hickson; Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Mickael Pietrus, Ed Davis, Aaron Gray.
Key backups tonight
Portland: Luke Babbitt (can be dangerous from beyond the arc), Jared Jefferies (veteran big can be a matchup problem); Toronto: Amir Johnson (play has been off the charts of late), Kyle Lowry (has been excellent in a backup role).
Portland leads, 1-0
Blazers routed Raptors 92-74 at the Rose Garden last month in what was the darkest point of the Toronto season so far.
All-time, there’s no much good news for Raptors fans, Portland’s won the last nine games between the teams, including four in a row at the Air Canada Centre.
What happened this morning
Not an awful lot
Raptors went through a traditional shootaround and no changes are anticipated to a team that’s won seven of its last eight.
Coach Dwane Casey alluded to the fact the Blazers have an impressive array of big men as something Toronto will have to watch out for.
Other than that, not a lot of news as the Blazers took the morning off after playing in New York on Tuesday.
The one to watch
Portland point guard Damian Lillard is having a Rookie of the Year campaign, averaging 18.4 points and 6.3 assists per game.
He had a terrible game against Toronto last month – 2-for-14 from the field – but that’s a bit of an aberration from the way his season is going.
“We have to get him out of rhythm,” said Casey.
Oh, him, too
LaMarcus Aldridge basically kills the Raptors every time he plays them – he had 30 points and 12 rebounds out in Portland this season.
Oh, and he had 33 points and 23 rebounds last season the Air Canada Centre, the first 30-20 game by a Blazer since 2003.
Rather veteran crew of Bennett Salvatore, Scott Wall and Eric Dalen handles the officiating duties this evening.
Jose Calderon leads the Raptors this season with seven double-doubles and he’s also had two triple doubles.
He’s sixth in the NBA in assists (7.6 per game) and 12th in three-point shooting (42.9 per cent).
Yes, that is former Raptors head coach and executive Jay Triano working as an assistant to Portland’s Terry Stotts.
If there’s one place Toronto might have an edge tonight – even with a lineup missing injured big man Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani – it’s off the bench.
The Blazers are woefully thin, their substitutes average a league-worst 11.1 points per game, Toronto is eighth, averaging 37.1 points per game.
With Portland perhaps a bit tired after playing in New York on Tuesday, it could be something the Raptors exploit.