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Blazers burn Raptors, 102-89 Sunday, December 28, 2008

LaMarcus Aldridge rejects Chris Bosh's layup attempt in the first half of the Trail Blazers' 102-89 win over Toronto Saturday night in Portland.

The Portland Trail Blazers faced Toronto Saturday night at the Rose Garden, and I had the opportunity to shoot the game. It was a pretty exciting assignment for me as I'd never shot any of the four major pro sports before.

The Trail Blazers have been playing pretty well this year, but many of the key players have not been playing up to their potential recently. Saturday night, though, they were firing on all cylinders.

Toronto came out firing in the first half, building a 57-49 lead at halftime. (They should have had a 11-point lead, but Travis Outlaw launched a Hail Mary from the center line just before the buzzer.)

The Blazers took control of the game in the third quarter, though, outscoring Toronto 20-10 and taking a 2-point lead into the final frame.

The Raptors, who had played the night before in Sacramento, completely lost their legs in the fourth quarter. Brandon Roy tore up the court scoring 18 of his 32 points in the last 12 minutes.

LaMarcus Aldridge and rookie Greg Oden both had their best games in a while for Portland. Aldridge scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the Blazers. Oden recorded his team-leading ninth double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

When the final buzzer sounded, Portland won 102-89 to improve their record to 19-12 and move within 1/2 game of Denver for first in the Northwest Conference. Toronto fell to 12-18.

[left] Portland's 7-0 center Greg Oden puts a hook shot up over Toronto's Andrea Bargnani in the second quarter.

[right] Brandon Roy fakes an outlet pass as he drives the lane against Toronto's Jermaine O'Neal.

[below left] Steve Blake (no. 2) chases a loose ball in the third quarter.

Read the full game story here.