TORONTO -- The Portland Trail Blazers' late comeback attempt came up short on Sunday at the American Airlines Centre as they lost, 112-106, to the Toronto Raptors.
The Blazers built a double-digit first half lead, but a cold spell to close the second quarter and open the third let Toronto get back into the game. The Raptors created some distance early in the fourth quarter, stretching their advantage to as much as nine points, before holding off the Blazers' late push.
It was over when: The Blazers needed one last stop to keep their comeback hopes alive, trailing 109-104 with 43 seconds remaining. Portland trapped Raptors star DeMar DeRozan near half court, but he passed out of the double team, got the ball back and worked his way toward the free throw line, pump-faking before drawing a shooting foul on Al-Farouq Aminu. DeRozan, who hit 15 of his 16 free throw attempts, nailed both shots at the line to put Toronto up seven with 30 seconds left.
Top performers: DeRozan finished with 33 points and six rebounds to lead the Raptors, who were playing without injured point guard Kyle Lowry. Serge Ibaka, playing his second game with Toronto since coming over from Orlando at the trade deadline, added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 28 points, six rebounds and eight assists and Moe Harkless, who had the primary defensive assignment against DeRozan, added 18 points.
Turning point: The Raptors outscored the Blazers 15-2 over the final 4:16 of the first half to take a one-point lead into the break. Toronto then scored the first six points of the third quarter, building a 59-52 lead. Portland went 6:46 of game time between field goals before Harkless' putback finally ended the drought. Portland took a brief one-point lead late in the third quarter and hung in the game until the final minute, but never regained control after the long stretch without a basket.
They said it: "A lot of those fouls he drew and some of those fouls were, 'I'm DeMar DeRozan and I'm going to get the foul,'" Blazers guard CJ McCollum said. "You just gotta try to play good defense and make it tough on him and hope for the best."
Trend tracker: The Blazers have not won consecutive road games since Nov. 4 and 6 at Memphis and Dallas, their sixth and seventh games of the season. Portland dropped to 10-21 on the road this season after the loss at Toronto, guaranteeing it will have a losing record away from the Moda Center.
Injury scare: Jusuf Nurkic took an elbow to the face from Raptors forward PJ Tucker while battling for a rebound with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter. Nurkic, who was called for a personal foul on the play, had two false front teeth knocked out of his mouth. He remained on the ground momentarily but did not come out of the game, getting up to hand his teeth to team trainer Geoff Clark before play resumed. Tucker was assessed a technical foul for the errant elbow.
Nurkic was not in the locker room after the game and the Blazers have yet to issue an update on his status.
The Blazers wrap up their three-game trip at the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills at 4:30 p.m.
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