Portland Trail Blazers vs. Toronto Raptors Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

The Portland Trail Blazers will attempt to end a nine-game home losing streak when they entertain the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

Portland went winless on a seven-game homestand last month, then lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday and Houston Rockets on Friday. The Trail Blazers last won at home when they spoiled Damian Lillard’s homecoming and registered a 119-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 31.

Portland will be playing the third contest of a six-game homestand. The Trail Blazers will look to bounce back from a 123-107 defeat against the Rockets, who outscored Portland 68-44 in the second half.

“We stopped sharing the ball. We stopped moving the ball as much,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said. “But I give (the Rockets) some credit. They came out and were very physical in that third quarter. So they took us out of a lot of things, which I’m sure they intended to do.”

Portland’s Dalano Banton posted career-high totals in points (30) and rebounds (eight) while matching his season high in assists (five). However, Banton, starting with Malcolm Brogdon (elbow) and Scoot Henderson (adductor) sidelined, made just 10 of 27 shots from the field.

Banton shared Billups’ sentiments about the team’s second-half issues.

“Finding ways to do it for 48 minutes is a hard thing to do in this league,” Banton said. “Just being able to punch back when we take a hit. I don’t feel like we were able to give a hit back after they went on their runs.”

Anfernee Simons added 23 points for Portland. Rookie Kris Murray had a solid all-around effort and posted his first career double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Big man Deandre Ayton (hand) missed his fifth straight game and could be sidelined again on Saturday. Forwards Jerami Grant (hamstring) and Jabari Walker (hip) also sat out Friday.

Toronto has dropped four of its past five games as it enters the second contest of a four-game road trip. The Raptors fell 120-113 to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

Gary Trent Jr. led Toronto with a season-high 30 points. The former Portland guard has scored in double digits in seven of the past eight games.

Making a big impact for the Raptors is recently acquired guard Immanuel Quickley.

Quickley scored 21 points, recorded a career-best 18 assists and collected nine rebounds against the Suns, narrowly missing his third career triple-double.

In 28 games since Toronto acquired him from the New York Knicks, Quickley is averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds. That betters his career averages of 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Over the past five games, Quickley has 56 assists against just 10 turnovers.

“The coaches here give me a lot of freedom to play my game,” Quickley recently told TSN.

RJ Barrett, who also came over in the trade with the Knicks, scored 23 points against Phoenix, but the Raptors didn’t have enough manpower as they played without All-Star Scottie Barnes (hand) and big man Jakob Poeltl (finger).

Toronto’s first-half defense was pretty shaky as well. Suns guard Grayson Allen made eight treys and scored 26 points prior to intermission.

“We were late on our rotations,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “We had a clear plan on how we wanted to close out on Grayson Allen, but we just didn’t follow through. It’s going to be good for us to look at the film and learn from it.”

Portland has won six of its past eight meetings with the Raptors, including a 99-91 win in Toronto on Oct. 30. Grant led the Trail Blazers with 22 points.

–Field Level Media

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