Great bounce back performance from the Toronto Raptors as they down the Portland Trail Blazers

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Monday, January 9, 2023

The cold days in Toronto became a bit more bearable after the Toronto Raptors finally picked up a win defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-105. Compared to the past few games where the Raptors found themselves fighting an uphill battle, they jumped to an early lead and applied pressure from the beginning. 

Over the past couple of games, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. were the main contributors to the Raptors' offence. While Pascal Siakam has been great all season, he hasn't produced at the same productivity as Toronto has grown accustomed to, that wasn't the case against Portland as he was balling.

The soon-to-be All-Star finished with 27 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Although he had things going for him, he made the right decisions and trusted his teammates, especially Scottie Barnes. 

This sophomore season hasn't been the kindest to Scottie but he continues to show glimpses of his true potential as he finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. He played with the same aggressiveness he displayed during his amazing rookie season. In order for Toronto to turn this season around they need Barnes to play with this level of assertiveness on a nightly basis, hopefully, this performance can spark that switch.

Toronto might've played a great game but it wasn't a display of complete dominance. Portland stayed within striking distance thanks to the stellar play of Damian Lillard who finished with a game-high 34 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. 

Portland received great contributions from all of their starters, finishing in double figures. However, in an unlikely occurrence, Toronto's bench outplayed Portland's emphatically. The Trail Blazers' bench only had three points from Shaedon Sharpe, while Toronto's combined for 21. Christian Koloko was the star off the bench finishing with eight points and an outstanding plus/minus of +20, which was a game-high.

Now that there is finally a W in the win column, there has been some tension relieved but not entirely. The Raptors improve to 17-23 and remain as the 12th seed. They will look to follow this victory with another in their next matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday at 7:30 PM ET.