The Trail Blazers shot to the top of the North West division on Wednesday night in a tight game at the Moda Center, and will be looking to retain that position against a Raptors side who have been a mixed bag this season.
Portland have won six of their last seven and are the only side to beat the San Antonio Spurs this season. Victory against the Phoenix Suns has placed them second in the Western Conference, and one of the teams to beat in the NBA this season. Edging out the Suns 89-90 in a superb final quarter, the Trail Blazers’ Head Coach Terry Stotts made an inspired change bringing on Thomas Robinson who netted 15 points to go with eight rebounds in just 17 minutes.
And it’s not just Robinson who’s impressing for the Trail Blazers. The team from Oregon have plenty of options in their artillery with both Damian Lillard and team captain LaMarcus Aldridge averaging over 20 points per game, which could give them the edge on November 17.
Toronto are starting to fall into some form too. Big wins against the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz have propelled them into seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Canadian team have failed when tested against the bigger sides. Defeats against the Pacers, Hawks and Heat have summed up the Raptors season so far, and it’s unlikely they will have the strength to compete with Portland. Up against the likes of LeBron James, the Raptors defence has struggled. James netted 35 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists whilst DeRozan also scored over 30 for the Hawks in their 95-102 win.
The team from Oregon are looking for their fifth straight win and it will be an interesting game come Sunday with both going into the weekend on the back of good wins. But with Portland looking to keep their noses ahead of OKC, who are likely to take a win on the road in Milwaukee, it will be a tough ask for Toronto, who have consistently failed to deliver against the top teams.