The Toronto Raptors comeback attempt falls short with a 114-105 loss to the Trailblazers

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Sunday, January 23, 2022

The taste of victory was there but not strong enough as the Toronto Raptors lose to the Portland Trailblazers to a score of 114-105. This was easily a game of two halves, one where the Raptors struggled and did so mightily, while in the other they dominated throughout. The deficit that they dug themselves was just too great of a hole for them to bounce back from. Despite this, there were many positives to take away from this loss.

The energy and tenacity shown in the second half were commendable and were definitely to the delight to head coach Nick Nurse. This was a defensive clinic and if this intensity was present in the first half, the outcome of this game would've been much different.

The Raptors were down as much as 34 points and somehow brought the game down to just four points. If it wasn't for some huge three-pointers from Anfernee Simons, this could've been the greatest comeback in franchise history. Toronto outscored the Trailblazers 71-50 in the second half, which in most cases would result in a victory. However, they went into halftime down 64-34. They didn't help themselves in that area.

Pascal Siakam was sensational for Toronto. The former All-Star finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, and five assists on the night. He's having a statistically better season than the year he was selected as an All-Star and also to an All-NBA team. His play has made a great case for earning an All-Star nod along with Fred VanVleet.

VanVleet on the other hand struggled from the field shooting 6-19 from the field and 4-15 from three. He still finished with 19 points and came up big with two crucial threes late to keep Toronto's comeback hopes alive. Scottie Barnes didn't have the best game, freshly off his career night in the previous matchup with the Washington Wizards.

Portland won this game thanks to a well-balanced attack as five players finished with 10+ points. The coaching staff for the Trailblazers must not be pleased with how their team won this game but a win is a win at the end of the day. Simons was huge with 19 points, along with C.J. McCollum with 19 points as well. The absence of Damian Lillard didn't look to hurt them as they looked stronger than ever in the first half.

Toronto didn't want to leave tonight with a loss but there was a lot to take away from in regards to the character of this team. Never giving up and persevering to the very end is a trait that not many teams have. The Raptors have championship DNA despite all the new pieces and it displayed tonight albeit the efforts fell short.

The Raptors drop back to .500 at a record of 22-22. They will shift their attention to the Charlotte Hornets in a crucial game that may be imperative later in the season on Tuesday at 7 PM ET.