Offensive struggles derail the Toronto Raptors in loss against the Portland Trail Blazers

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer

@nickeemkhan

Tuesday, October 31, 2023


The first week of the NBA season hasn't been kind to the Toronto Raptors. Following winning their season opener, they have now lost three straight after suffering a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 99-91. The questions surrounding this team's offensive abilities are increasing by the day.

This was a competitive game from the very start, however, it was assumed that Toronto would get to a significant lead quickly. Portland is in a rebuilding situation and although the Raptors lost back-to-back games coming into this one, O.G. Anunoby returned to the lineup bolstering their forces. 

No team was able to get a stronghold in the first half as Toronto led by just four points. It was in the third quarter that the separation took place. Malcolm Brogdon was sensational for the Blazers, proving yet again why he was voted the Sixth Man of the Year last season. He finished the game with 21 points, five assists, and three rebounds.

Brogdon was pursued by the Raptors in the 2022 offseason but chose to go to the Boston Celtics. Since that move, he has performed greatly against this team. He single-handedly outscored the entire bench of Toronto. On top of his great play at the guard position, Scoot Henderson had his best game in his young NBA career. He has yet to have an explosive performance this year but he finished in double-figure scoring for the first time with 11 points and added seven assists. 

Scottie Barnes continues to be amazing for the Raptors this season finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Pascal Siakam finally notched 20 points for the first time this season. However, the difference maker in this game was Deandre Ayton. 

The former number-one overall pick has been lacklustre to start this season. That would change as he had one of the best games of his career tonight. He finished with just 10 points but added a career-high 23 rebounds, seven of which were offensive. His dominance on the glass was huge for Portland in their second half efforts that provided them a lead they never relinquished. 

On top of Toronto's inability to close out defensive possessions with a rebound, their perimeter shooting was dreadful. As a team they shot just 13 percent from three, which is not reminscent of their performance against the Sixers. The issues on offense need to be addressed along with the construction of the bench and their inability to contribute consistently and substantially.

The Raptors could quickly find themselves in no man's land if they don't get out of this rut soon. It won't be easy as their next game will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday at 7 PM ET.