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 Blake's late 3 lifts Blazers past Raptors 98-97

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PostSubject: Blake's late 3 lifts Blazers past Raptors 98-97   Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:13 pm

TORONTO(AP) Steve Blake knew exactly what to do when he got the ball in a close game Sunday.Blake
drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 8 seconds left and the Portland Trail
Blazers spoiled Toronto coach Jay Triano's home debut with a 98-97
victory over the Raptors.LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and
Blake added 19 for Portland, which has won six of seven. Rudy Fernandez
scored 16 points, Brandon Roy had 15 and Greg Oden had 10 points and 10
rebounds."That last play I got the ball and I wanted to be
aggressive,'' Blake said. "They were playing good defense so I just
wanted to create something off of their defense.''Roy scored to
tie it at 95 with 48 seconds left, but Chris Bosh, his head bandaged
after receiving two stitches at halftime to repair a gash on his
forehead - thanks to an elbow from Oden - stepped back to sink a
14-foot jumper with 27 seconds to go.Blake then drained his 3 over Jose Calderon, and Bosh missed his final shot."We
had a lot of rebound attempts and putbacks and it popped out to him,''
Roy said of Blake. "He took a big shot and he had a lot of pressure on
that shot. He showed us what he can do and he makes big shots and we
needed that one tonight.''Jermaine O'Neal scored a season-high
24 and blocked six shots and Bosh added 19 points, but it wasn't enough
to give Triano his first win as the Raptors lost their fourth straight
game.Portland had won its first seven games against Eastern
Conference opponents and five straight overall before a 93-78 loss at
Boston on Friday. The Trail Blazers went 4-1 on a five-game trip, also
winning at Detroit, New York and Washington."This is a tough
game when you've been on the road as long as we have,'' coach Nate
McMillan said. "Sometimes your mind is on the plane before the game is
over. One thing I've told our guys is let's focus, let's not get our
minds on the end of the game and go on home. Let's focus on this game
and try and get this game. We knew Toronto would come out fighting and
be very aggressive and they did.''Calderon had 15 points and 13 assists, and reserves Joey Graham and Jason Kapono had 10 points each."We
felt we deserved to win, it's not we felt we got outplayed,'' O'Neal
said. "We felt like we played pretty good for the most part and just
couldn't get that last rebound.''The Raptors led by as many as 16 early in the second quarter, but the Blazers rallied and led by 10 early in the fourth.The
Raptors found another gear in front of an energetic crowd at the Air
Canada Centre and a long jumper by Kapono capped a 17-2 run that put
them up by five with 3:41 left.The Raptors shot 49 percent from the floor, but were outrebounded 48-31."Overall,
I feel bad for our guys that we get a chance to reward them with a
victory, we cleaned up an awful lot from what we had been doing,''
Triano said. "I just feel bad for our guys because they deserved more,
they deserved to carry a victory away from the improvements that we
made.''The 50-year-old Triano, a former longtime Canadian
national team player and coach, became the NBA's first Canadian head
coach on Wednesday when he was named Sam Mitchell's replacement on an
interim basis that's expected to last the remainder of the season.The
native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, wants to get the Raptors running
more, and the pace of the game, especially in the opening 12 minutes,
was noticeably quicker."Not playing against a set defense is
key,'' Bosh said. "It's easy shots, we want to run for layups, if we
don't run for layups, we run right into our offense and it's tough for
teams to guard that. We have to continue to run, you have to be in
shape, there's no messing around.''Notes: Raptors forward Kris
Humphries sat out with tendinitis in his knee. ... The game was the
first of three in four days for Toronto. The Raptors play in Cleveland
on Tuesday then are back home Wednesday to host T.J. Ford and the
Indiana Pacers. ... The game featured three Spanish national team
players in Calderon and Portland's Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez.

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