Toronto Raptors

The Fire Within: Kent Bazemore ignites Blazers with his ejection

The Fire Within: Kent Bazemore ignites Blazers with his ejection

There could be a number of different things to point a finger at and say -- yes, that’s why the Trail Blazers were able to clamp down and rally back to beat the Raptors Tuesday night.

It could be Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony’s second half shooting barrage.

Or that the Blazers as a team defended better.

Plus, Portland shot the ball extremely well in the fourth quarter; in fact, they were 25 percent better from the floor in the final period than the first three quarters.

And then, of course, there was Melo’s go-ahead bucket to secure the Blazers two-point victory.  

But, possibly, what turned things around for Portland happened earlier in the third quarter is what ignited the Blazers.

The Trail Blazers were down 73-65 when Kent Bazemore took it coast to coast after snagging a defensive rebound.

When Bazemore missed the lay-in with 3:06 to go in the third, and he didn’t get a whistle on the call, the Trail Blazers starting small forward shared his frustrations verbally with the referees.

Bazemore was then hit with two quick technical fouls, resulting in an ejection. 

After the game, Bazemore explained what happened.

“I thought there was a lot of contact on the drive. We had been getting in the paint all night, and we felt like we were getting hit pretty much on every play early in the game. Dame gets hit upside the head – nothing. I drive a couple of times, a lot of contact – nothing. I was just frustrated and I took it upon myself and I got ejected for it,” Bazemore told reporters postgame.

Gary Trent Jr. entered the game for Bazemore after he was escorted to the locker room.

Bazemore had scored seven points, to go along with two rebounds, and two steals in 26 minutes before getting tossed.

For Baze, he was happy to see his team come from behind and secure a victory more than anything else.

“Came out, collected myself in here for a little bit, got my heart rate back down, took a quick shower, and then went back there and watched my guys. A heck of a win,” Bazemore said.

To quote the 30-year-old from his Instagram post Tuesday night, ““Throw yo hands in the ay-yerrrr and wave em’ like you just don’t cay-yerrrrr... Great win.”

Yes, the Blazers were throwing their hands in the air after the game, and they were also giving credit to Bazemore for “sacrificing” himself in order to get the W.

That’s his first time being ejected in 38 games, so it’s not like he’s out there just getting mad all the time, and getting techs, and getting tossed all the time, he was really mad because we fighting for it, and we trying to win the game. And, I think that just kind of lit a fire up under us to continue to press forward. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said postgame

Melo added, “We rally around Kent. We rally around just that atmosphere, and situations like that. Sometimes it takes sacrifices… to spark something and today Kent was that. He was really into the game, he was locked in, and I think when you get locked in, a lot of emotions goes into it. It was unfortunate that he got ejected, but we rallied and we won the game for him.”

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts wasn’t sure if Bazemore leaving the game really made the difference, but he did believe one thing was true: “I think that just showed how much we wanted to win a game.”

Often times it as a head coach that will get tossed to fire up his team, but thanks to Bazemore’s heated argument to the officials, showing that fire, and Melo’s vintage performance, the Blazers now have a chance to come back to Portland with a winning record on this trip if they take care of business in Minnesota Thursday night.

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Raptors

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Raptors

The Trail Blazers traveled to Toronto looking for a much-needed win. Is was going to be no easy task against a tough Raptors squad. 

Toronto jumped out to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter and for most of the game kept the Blazers from making a run. 

It felt like it was going to be a repeat of the Miami game where the Blazers dug an early hole too big to get out of. But thanks to Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard, history didn't repeat itself. 

Portland ended the game on a 13-4 run, and as the clock approached triple zeroes, the man wearing double zero went to work. 

Anthony drove to the lane, pulled up from near the free-throw line, and drained a classic Carmelo Anthony mid-range dagger to seal the deal. 

Portland picks up the much-needed win and the Melo legend grows. 

Final Score: Blazers 101 - Raptors 99

QUOTABLES:

Carmelo Anthony on hitting the game-winner:

This is something I’ve always embraced, loved those moments. Whenever you get a chance to have those moments you have to take advantage of it. Throughout my career I’ve always been the guy who would take those shots. I’ve made a ton of them and missed a lot of them, as well. You just have to be willing, to want to take them.

Coach Stotts on what changed in the second half:

Probably the main thing is we switched more pick and rolls and kind of scrambled after that. They had some difficult matchups for us. [Serge] Ibaka was making his shots, [Chris] Boucher was making his shots, so they were trying to involve different guys in pick and rolls, so that was probably the major adjustment.

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Carmelo Anthony wins the 10-year challenge, here's proof

Carmelo Anthony wins the 10-year challenge, here's proof

By now, you have all heard of the 10-year challenge.  Thanks to social media, we all have an endless amount of photos of ourselves to go through and look back on. The trend has people taking pictures of themselves in 2020 and comparing them to photos of themselves from 2010. Get it? 10-year challenge. 

Most of us just sat back and laughed. "Oh my gosh. Look at how much I've changed. I looked so young!" blah blah blah.

Not Carmelo Anthony.

All he did was inadvertently destroy the challenge to a point that it will never recover. 

Against the Raptors on Tuesday, Carmelo pulled up from just beyond the free-throw line to drill the game-winning shot in the final seconds of the game. 

However, it wasn't the first time he hit a game-winner against the Raptors, from that spot, in that arena. 

Back in March of 2010, Carmelo and the Denver Nuggets made a stop in Toronto. The Nuggets trailed 96-95 and just before time expired Anthony did his thing. He pulled up from just beyond the free-throw line and drilled the game-winner.

Flash forward to 2020 and it was a brutal case of déjà vu for the Raptors. Fitting, too, because déjà vu is French, one of Canada's primary languages. Two clutch, nearly idential game-winners ten years apart.

We salute you Mr. Anthony, king of the 10-year challenge. 

Game-winners? Carmelo Anthony has more than Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade

Game-winners? Carmelo Anthony has more than Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade

TORONTO – If you’re going to take a last-second shot to win a game and you’re the Portland Trail Blazers, who do you go to?

Damian Lillard is the obvious choice. But what if the other team double-teams him and makes it impossible to get him the ball?

Then you go to CJ McCollum, right? Well, that’s what the Trail Blazers did Tuesday night against the Raptors, with the scored tied at 99 and the clock ticking down past 10 seconds.

McCollum took an inbound pass and had a lane to the basket. An open lane, he figured. But knowing it wouldn’t be right to take his shot too early on the clock, he held back – a smart move by a mature player.

Suddenly, Carmelo Anthony popped open near the top of the three-point circle and McCollum found him with a pass.

Melo with the ball and a chance to win the game? That’s money, folks. Look it up. It’s not this guy’s first rodeo.

Since 2003-2004, according to STATS Inc., he’s been the best in the NBA at hitting shots in the final 30 seconds of a game to give his team a lead for good. He’s done it 26 times, better than Kobe Bryant (22), LeBron James (20), Dirk Nowitzki (18) and Dwyane Wade (16).

You want it done in the final five seconds? According to ESPN Stats and Information, he's done that 17 times, four more than any other player since he came into the league.
“It was very important for us to come back on the road,” Anthony said. “We were able to get stops and make shots. A big morale booster for us.

“This is something I’ve always embraced, loved those moments. Whenever you get a chance to have those moments you have to take advantage of it. Throughout my career I’ve always been the guy who would take those shots. I’ve made a ton of them and missed a lot of them, as well. You just have to be willing, to want to take them.”

Anthony was able to get to his spot on the floor, a jump shot that was a virtual free throw. It’s a shot you can see him practicing over and over before games.

“I was able to get to my spot and it felt good,” he said. “Very important to get to my spot. Only thing I didn‘t want to do is settle, settle for that three. Once I was able to get to my spot, there was a great chance of that ball going in.”

The Blazers and Raptors – two teams playing without some of their best players – stumbled around a lot in this game but the Blazers really were tested. If there was a night for them to just give up on a game, this would have been it. For most of the first half they couldn’t make shots and couldn’t get defensive stops. It was a frustrating night, given that the Blazers’ first and only lead prior to Anthony’s game-winner lasted 14 seconds and made the score 4-3.

“We gave up 22 in the third and 21 in the fourth and we started to limit their second chances,” Lillard said. “The way we did it is the style we need to play to win us games.”

The Raptors specialize in playing defense that takes the opponent’s best player out of the game and they got it done over the first three quarters, throwing multiple players at Lillard. But in the fourth, he was able to get more room by getting a pick set higher and making his threes from longer distance.

“I just played from further out,” he said. “I didn’t want to force it and play in a crowd. I had to change my pace, get the screen set higher. And we also got stops so we weren’t playing against a set defense.”

Lillard played a key role in forcing a Toronto turnover, as Patrick McCaw threw a pass between Kyle Lowry’s legs and out of bounds.

“Kyle was coming off a pin down and I saw it developing,” Lillard said. “They were trying to catch us off guard. I shot the gap and the guy threw a bounce pass and Kyle was running through it and didn’t have a chance to catch it. A big play.”

Portland had to survive a last-second three from Kyle Lowry but it was a miss and the Blazers had the win.

To be fair, the Raptors were playing without injured Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet, among others. Of course, the Blazers – without Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Rodney Hood and Skal Labissiere – have no sympathy for them.

This trip concludes with a game Thursday night at Minneapolis against the Timberwolves.

Was Tuesday night just what the doctor ordered for the Trail Blazers?

Was Tuesday night just what the doctor ordered for the Trail Blazers?

Two wins.

The Trail Blazers now have two wins on their five-game road trip following Tuesday’s 101-99 comeback victory over the Raptors.

But, more than that, the Blazers now have two wins against teams with a winning record at the time of the game played.

Portland was down by as many as 14 points.

And yeah, yeah, the Raptors were undermanned dealing with injuries to key players; however, that hasn’t meant the Blazers have been able to take advantage of injury riddled teams in the past this season (hello, Golden State Warriors in early November), and it hasn’t prevented the Raptors from getting victories this season.

Portland rallied back behind Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard.

No surprise there.

It was Melo’s long jumper at the top of the key that gave the Blazers the lead with 4.1 seconds remaining in the game.  

Portland turned things around in the final period, outscoring Toronto 32-21 after the Blazers shot 63 percent from the field in the fourth in comparison to their 38 percent shooting through the first three quarters.

“We just stayed with it, we stayed with it, we played together, we stayed composed even though they was making runs, we got some stops, and we made shots in the fourth quarter. It always helps when you make shots,” Melo told Trail Blazers sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam after the win.

It sure does help to make baskets down the stretch.

But, for Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, it was how his team defended in the second half that he believes was their biggest adjustment.

“Probably the main thing is we switched more pick and rolls and kind of scrambled after that. They had some difficult matchups for us. [Serge] Ibaka was making his shots, [Chris] Boucher was making his shots, so they were trying to involve different guys in pick and rolls, so that was probably the major adjustment,” Stotts told reporters.  

Now, let’s get back to Portland having two victories over teams with winning records.

The Raptors are currently 24-13.

The Blazers first win against a team with an above .500 record was against Dallas back on October 27th.

October.

That was Portland’s third game of the season.

It was also the game they lost Zach Collins to a left shoulder injury and things started to crumble.

But here we are… The Trail Blazers are now 16-22 and they know they can build on Tuesday’s win.

Question is... will they?

“It’s a big morale booster, especially on the road, beating a team like Toronto," Melo said. "We’ll take it, anytime you win on the road, especially in this fashion, the way that we did, is definitely a morale booster for us." 

With 44 games left in the Trail Blazers 2019-20 regular season, could January 7th in Toronto be a game that people look back on and say that was the game that flipped a switch for Portland?

Who's to say that right now.

But, Coach Stotts thinks it’s a real possibility.

“At the end of the season you look back on different games and this could very well be a game that we look back on that turned the tide. We’ve got a lot of games to play, but certainty this is a game we can build on,” Stotts said.

The Trail Blazers will look to build on Tuesday’s win by wrapping up their road trip Thursday night in Minnesota with a win.

And then  Portland is right back at it, at home, Saturday night with yet another opportunity to snag a victory against a winning team when the Milwaukee Bucks come to town.

For now, mark it down as January 7th being a potential turning point for the Trail Blazers.  

Or, at least, enjoy the come from behind win on the road against a winning team.  

Instant Analysis: Carmelo Anthony calls game

Instant Analysis: Carmelo Anthony calls game

Tuesday night was a not what people would’ve expected to see at the start of the season when watching the Trail Blazers take on the Raptors. 

Toronto was without Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation), Marc Gasol (left hamstring strain), Dewan Hernandez (right ankle sprain), Pascal Siakam (groin strain), and Fred VanVleet (right hamstring strain).

While the Blazers continued to deal with having a thin frontcourt with Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation) out, and of course Jusuf Nurkic (left knee rehab) and Zach Collins (shoulder surgery) still sidelined.

Neither team shot the ball well early on. The Blazers scored just 15 points in the first quarter. It has become a theme of Portland's to get out to a slow start.

The Blazers, though, despite their shooting struggles, were in striking distance throughout the game. 

Then, Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony closed the game. Dame struck from deep, scoring 8 points in the final 2:26. And it was Melo's go-ahead bucket with 4.1 seconds that propelled the Blazers to victory.


FINAL BOX SCORE TRAIL BLAZERS 101, RAPTORS 99

Here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday’s comeback win:

1. Lillard playing through it

CJ McCollum returned to the Blazers lineup after missing the previous game with an upper respiratory infection, but then it looked as though Portland might lose Damian Lillard in the first quarter. Lillard went down hard on his way to the rim. It was at the 2:46 mark of the first quarter that Lillard took a hit on the head by Chris Boucher’s elbow.

Lillard came out the game, but did not head back to the locker room.

The Raptors finished the quarter on an 8-0 run as the Blazers put a small-ball lineup on the floor of McCollum, Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., Mario Hezonja, and Anthony Tolliver.

That is, of course, a lineup that teams can take advantage of down low and the Raptors did just that.

During the first quarter timeout, Lillard was icing the back of his head. Fortunately for the Blazers, Lillard returned to the game at the 8:34 mark of the second quarter. Lillard come on strong in the fourth quarter offensively, but he also continued to find his teammates all night.

2. Short-handed Raptors rely on rebounds

Toronto was a monster on the offensive glass. In the first half, the Raptors' second chance points were really the difference in the game. Toronto had 13-second chance points through the first 24 minutes of action to the Blazers’ four.  

Kyle Lowry also helped shoulder the scoring load for the banged up Raptors. He led all scorers with 17 points in the first half.

3. Melo and Whiteside aggressive in the paint

Carmelo Anthony was extremely aggressive on both ends. He worked the baseline, taking the Raptors to the rim and doing his standard spin move to get a bucket. With the Blazers trailing by 10 at halftime, Melo led the charge offensively. He had 13 points at the break. 

Both Hassan Whiteside and Anthony were 4-of-8 from the field in the first half. Portland depended on Melo's scoring throughout the game.  Whiteside continued to make a positive impact all over the court. The Blazers starting center finished with 14 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks. Melo and Lillard came up with two clutch three-pointers down the stretch to tie the game at 99. 

Up Next: The Trail Blazers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday night in Portland’s final game of this five-game road trip. Portland and Minnesota tip-off 5:00pm PT on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

WATCH Carmelo Anthony gets go-ahead game winner as Blazers beat Raptors

WATCH Carmelo Anthony gets go-ahead game winner as Blazers beat Raptors

What a night it was in Toronto. 

The Trail Blazers finished the game on a 13-4 run as Carmelo Anthony tied his season-high in points with 28. 

Melo and Damian Lillard knocked down two clutch three-pointers to tie the game at 99 in the final seconds as the Blazers clawed their back against the Raptors.

But, it was Melo’s free throw line jumper that made the difference as he knocked down the go-ahead bucket with 4.1 seconds remaining in the game.

Portland shot 63 percent from the field in the fourth quarter in comparison to their 38 percent shooting through the first three quarters.

The Blazers outscored Toronto in the fourth, 32-21, to rally back for a 101-99 victory.  

Tuesday night’s game was yet another display of the Blazers never believing there are out of a game.

And get this -- Portland led for an entire 17.3 seconds in Tuesday’s game.

After the victory, Melo earned the walk-off interview with Trail Blazers sideline reporter Brooke Olzendam.

In the out of bounds play, they denied Dame, CJ [McCollum] got open, he did a great job of getting open… I just picked my spot. I didn’t want to settle for the three on that, I knew my man was closing out on me, so I just wanted to get to my spot, which is that free throw line, and I trusted my workout, trusted my shot, it's a shot that I work on everyday and it went in. -- Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony said postgame

Anthony not only earned the postgame interview, he also earned an ice bath courtesy of Jusuf Nurkic.

However, it didn’t seem to phase the veteran at all, who finished the game going 10-of-17 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from three. 

Kent Bazemore gets heated, gets ejected

Kent Bazemore gets heated, gets ejected

With the Trail Blazers down 73-65 late in the third quarter, Kent Bazemore took it coast to coast after snagging a defensive rebound.

But when Bazemore missed the lay-up and didn’t get a whistle, the Trail Blazers starting small forward shared his frustrations verbally with the referees.

Bazemore was hit with two technical fouls, resulting in an ejection.  

Gary Trent Jr. entered the game for Bazemore.

Before leaving the game, Bazemore had seven points, two rebounds, and two steals.

Could Bazemore getting tossed be what the Blazers needed to fire them up enough to complete the comeback over the Raptors?

Watch the fourth quarter on NBC Sports Northwest and on the MyTeams App. 

Trail Blazers Pregame: CJ McCollum is available tonight

Trail Blazers Pregame: CJ McCollum is available tonight

There’s some good news for the Portland Trail Blazers today in Toronto. After doing a few wind sprints on the court during warm-ups, CJ McCollum is going to give it a go tonight. Before the Trail Blazers and Raptors tip-off at 4:00 p.m. PT tonight on NBC Sports Northwest and on the 'My Teams' App, Blazers Coach Terry Stotts informed the media that McCollum will be available.

Our Dwight Jaynes said pregame that McCollum was still coughing up a lot of phlegm during warm-ups.

BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:

CJ McCollum (Upper Respiratory Infection) is available for Tuesday’s game at Toronto. Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation) is out.

RAPTORS INJURY REPORT:

Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation), Marc Gasol (left hamstring strain), Dewan Hernandez (right ankle sprain), Pascal Siakam (groin strain), and Fred VanVleet (right hamstring strain) are out.

STANDOUT GAME NOTES:

-- Tuesday’s game will round out the two regular season meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Raptors during the 2019-20 season. Toronto leads the season series, 1-0.

-- LAST MEETING: Toronto took down Portland 114-106 on November 13 at Moda Center. Rodney Hood paced Portland with 25 points (9-15 FG, 5-10 3-PT, 2-2 FT), two rebounds and one assist, while Pascal Siakham led Toronto with 36 points (15-28 FG, 4-7 3-PT, 2-3 FT), six rebounds and three assists. • FROM DOWNTOWN: Portland has made at least 13 three-pointers in each of its last three games against Toronto, including a 17-of-48 (35.4%) shooting performance in the previous matchup on November 13. Portland’s 17 three-pointers represent the team’s second-highest total of the season.

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Raptors today at 4:00pm

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USA Today Images

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers at Raptors today at 4:00pm

The Trail Blazers (15-22) have two game remaining on their current five-game trip with the Toronto Raptors (24-12) Tuesday night, followed by Thursday night’s game against the Timberwolves.

Toronto has been dealing with nearly as many injuries as Portland this season.

Tuesday night will be a battle of undermanned teams.

Blazers Injury Report:
CJ McCollum (Upper Respiratory Infection) is questionable for Tuesday’s game at Toronto. Skal Labissiere (left knee inflammation) is out.

Raptors Injury Report:
Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation) is doubtful. Marc Gasol (left hamstring strain), Dewan Hernandez (right ankle sprain), Pascal Siakam (groin strain), and Fred VanVleet (right hamstring strain) are out.

You can watch the Blazers-Raptors game on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of today's game:

2:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

3:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

3:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

4:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Raptors

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

Plus, we have full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

Quotable

Every game I want to show you all something. It’s not that they're so the Heat, it’s just -- they're not on my team, so I’m going to come out there and try to make an impact as much as I can. Whether it’s grabbing offensive rebounds, blocking shots, being at the rim -- pretty much what I feel like I’ve been doing all season. It was just another team, but it was surreal because I’ve been here for almost six years. -- Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside after Sunday’s loss to Miami