Blazers run over Raps

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

PORTLAND -- Somewhere over the Coast Mountains, the Raptors lost their ability to play defence.

The Raptors smothered the L.A. Clippers in the second half on Tuesday night at the Staples Center, en-route to a 80-77 victory -- one of their best defensive efforts of the season.

But last night at the Portland Rose Garden, the Raptors allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to run the court, share the ball and shoot the lights out. Portland shot 51% from the field. On the other hand, the Raptors shot 50%, and, in the end, the Trail Blazers prevailed 101-96, in an old-fashioned shootout.

After the game, Raptors forward Chris Bosh was unimpressed with the negative attitude his team adopted as the Blazers took control in the fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 25-13.

"We're not playing with confidence right now. We need to be more positive," Bosh said of his team, which led 83-76 after three quarters. "You swear to goodness in the huddle we were down by 18, and we had the lead on the road, in the second half of a back-to-back. We have to be more positive and we're not doing a good job of that right now.

"We have to stop chastising each other for everything. If we miss a shot, we're complaining. We're fourth in the East for goodness sake."

The Blazers had won eight in a row heading into last night's tilt, the past five without sophomore star LaMarcus Aldridge, who had been suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Another second-year star, Brandon Roy, also played last night, after missing the team's last game because of flu-like symptoms. Roy, the reigning NBA rookie of the year, had scored 25 points with eight assists and nine rebounds.

Aldridge also came up big, with 15 points and seven boards.

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell is a huge fan of Roy.

"You got a guy, 6-foot-6, who can dribble, five-six-seven times, and create a play for himself or his teammate, and that makes him good," said Mitchell, who puts Roy is some very special company. "Look at all the guys who handle the basketball with size, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tracy McGrady, they have the one thing in common, they all can dribble and get their own shot. Most players after the second dribble, they're in trouble."

Raptors point guard Jose Calderon, starting again for the injured T.J. Ford, picked up 19 points with nine assists.

Bosh played a second-straight strong game with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The Raptors led for much of the game, but with 5:53 remaining, the score was deadlocked at 87-87.

With 48 seconds left, Calderon turned over the ball. Travis Outlaw then pulled in a huge offensive rebound, forcing Jason Kapono to foul James Jones, who nailed two and the game was all but over.


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