The Toronto Raptors seem to struggle defensively, where they leak points, clang shots and are always in trouble.
On Friday night in Portland, it all caught up to them in a 107-93 loss to the Trail Blazers.
The Raptors were missing DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry due to injury and were short-handed for three-quarters.
The Raptors (3-1) battled back from a 27-point deficit but only after the Trail Blazers offense was bogged down by a cascade of turnovers and missed shots.
“I liked the spirit of the team,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “The key thing was finding ways to fight back.
“We couldn’t find enough opportunities. It was crazy. It was one of those nights where the momentum changed a couple of times.”
Kyle Collinsworth had his first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Portland (3-1). CJ McCollum had 25 points, and Damian Lillard added 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points for the Raptors, and Serge Ibaka had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Delon Wright also added 15 points.
The Raptors failed to win road games in Portland for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
“Give them credit, they got big shots and we didn’t make enough,” Lowry said. “We kind of collapsed for all the key moments, and that’s not how we’re supposed to be.”
Portland led 62-40 at halftime, and opened the third quarter with a 17-0 run. They went to a zone defense for most of the quarter, and Toronto could not find a hole in it.
Portland expanded its lead to 87-62 with 1:39 left in the third quarter, but the Raptors went on a 28-4 run to get back into the game.
Ibaka had 10 points during the run, which cut Portland’s lead to 92-87 with 5:51 remaining. The Raptors got back into it after that, with Lowry hitting two 3-pointers, but the Blazers regained control with McCollum’s layup and Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer.
Wright tied the game with a layup and Ibaka made two free throws to give the Raptors a 98-99 lead with 3:34 left. The teams traded baskets before McCollum’s two free throws put Portland up 105-99.
MISSING BIG MAN
DeRozan, Lowry and Serge Ibaka did not make the trip to Portland. DeRozan was only able to play seven minutes on Wednesday in the first half against Philadelphia due to a left shoulder injury, while Lowry and Ibaka went through the game but did not play.
Nurse said Ibaka had a “sprained ankle” in training camp and was going to need some time to heal. Ibaka is supposed to miss a couple of games but is hoping to return in four.
The injuries came as the Raptors face a roster in flux.
Serge Ibaka is expected to miss a couple of games. But he is hoping to return in four -Serge Ibaka on his ankle ©Andrey Rudakov (AP)