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Aldridge carries Trail Blazers past Raptors

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Updated 10 months ago on
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TORONTO — Trail Blazers center LaMarcus Aldridge feels his team is peaking at the right moment.

Portland has now won eight of 11 following a 113-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.

Aldridge led the way with a game-high 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists recording his 10th straight double-double against Toronto.

“I thought we definitely found a better rhythm of playing our style of basketball, making the extra pass — that’s why I thought we played so well,” said Aldridge.

Blazers guard Damian Lillard added 23 points, five assists and four rebounds while guard Arron Afflalo chipped in with 14 points.

Portland (44-20) has now won 12 of the last 13 meetings with Toronto (39-27). The Blazers have won eight of nine overall and improved to 20-6 against the Eastern Conference this season.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts credited his team’s ball movement as a strong point in the win.

“I thought offensively the ball moved really well,” said Stotts. “It was the second pass, third pass we got a lot of our threes off of good ball movement and sometimes it was out of the post, sometimes it was penetration.

“When the ball moves, I think it just creates rhythm to the shot and it was moving tonight.”

The Raptors, who have not won back-to-back home games since Feb. 11 and 20, were led by guard DeMar DeRozan’s 22 points and eight rebounds.

The Raptors have now lost five of six overall and 12 of 15 versus the Western Conference.

“We have to be a step quicker,” said DeRozan. “A lot of times on coverages we are just a step slow or late. We turn our head and they get the layup. We have to be more aware.

“Once a breakdown happens we get scrambling.”

Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and nine rebounds while guard Kyle Lowry had 10 points in the loss.

The Blazers led 91-79 heading into the fourth. Portland shot 54 percent (12-for-24) from 3-point range through three quarters.

Portland led 93-85 with 8:39 remaining in the fourth quarter before scoring eight straight points to lead by 16 with 6:48 remaining. The Blazers led by 15 points or more the rest of the way.

Raptors forwards Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson struggled early. The two were a combined 2-of-11 from the field at one point and Toronto was outscored by 17 points with Johnson on the floor.

Ross finished with three points while Johnson had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Raptors guard Lou Williams tied the game 47-47 with 4:36 remaining in the half, but it was all Portland after that. The Trail Blazers used a 17-6 surge to take a 64-53 lead into the break.

“We didn’t set the tone and hold the tone long enough because once they got it going, they are such a great 3-point shooting team and that was the difference in the game,” said Raptors coach, Dwane Casey.

Aldridge led the way shooting 5 of 6 from the field and finishing the first half with 12 points and five rebounds. Lillard and Afflalo each had 11 first half points.

The Blazers shot 61 percent from the field while holding the Raptors to 54 percent.

“I thought on the whole we were pretty solid defensively,” said Stotts. “There’s always going to be mistakes, but particularly the second half, we were really solid.”

Toronto was led by DeRozan’s 12 points and five rebounds while Lowry and guard Greivis Vasquez each had eight points for the Raptors, who shot 63 percent from 3-point range.

The Raptors closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run trailing the Blazers 33-31.

NOTES: Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas returned to the Raptors lineup Sunday after missing Friday’s contest due to the birth of his son. … Trail Blazers C Joel Freeland missed Sunday’s game serving a one-game suspension. Freeland was suspended by the NBA for his head-butting incident during Portland’s 118-99 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. … Portland G Wesley Matthews (Achilles tendon) missed his third game Sunday. The Trail Blazers are 3-1 without him in the lineup. … Portland continues its five-game road trip Monday night in Washington.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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