Saturday , Dec , 23 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Bargnani lifts Raptors past Blazers

Portland, OR (Sports Network) – Andrea Bargnani atoned for an otherwise quiet
night by nailing a jumper with 3.5 seconds left in overtime to lift the
Toronto Raptors past the Portland Trail Blazers, 101-100, at the Rose Garden.

Trailing 100-99 with 8.5 seconds remaining, T.J. Ford drove to the lane before
kicking out to the right wing for Bargnani, who hit nothing but net to put
Toronto in front.

“It’s just basketball,” said Ford. “There’s no secret about it. It was drive
and kick – that simple.”

Portland had one last chance to win the game, but Zach Randolph’s wild running
jumper was too strong as time expired.

Ford scored 23 points, including nine in overtime, to go along with 10 assists
for the Raptors, who have won two in a row and five of their last six.

Anthony Parker scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Toronto, while
Radoslav Nesterovic and Fred Jones each had 12 points and five boards.
Bargnani, the No.1 overall pick in the draft, finished with 11 points.

Randolph had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Trail Blazers,
who saw their season-long winning streak of five games come to an end.

Travis Outlaw scored 18 points and rookie Brandon Roy had 16 points, 10 boards
and eight assists for Portland, which saw its four-game winning streak against
Toronto come to an end.

“We had every opportunity to win the game, but you’ve got to make plays,” said
Portland head coach Nate McMillan. “We had three opportunities to do that and
we didn’t execute down the stretch.”

Randolph’s jumper gave Portland a 90-86 with 1:27 left to play before the
Raptors rallied to force overtime.

Ford answered with a turnaround jumper and after a Randolph miss, Jorge
Garbajosa’s basket tied the game at 90-90 with 37.3 seconds remaining.

After Jarrett Jack failed to put the Trail Blazers back in front, Toronto had
one last chance to win it in regulation. With 5.3 seconds left, Ford’s layup
rimmed out, but Garbajosa’s put back the rebound as time expired to give
Toronto an apparent victory. However, video replays showed that Garbajosa
didn’t get the shot off in time and the game went into overtime.

“We thought we had the game won,” said Jones. “The refs took a look at it and
said it wasnt in time. We didn’t talk about the emotion or anything we just
went back out there and played. TJ had it going so we rode him.”

Toronto led 25-23 after the opening 12 minutes, but it was Portland that led
for most of second quarter. However, as time ran out in the first half, Ford
nailed a jumper and Jones followed with a trey as the Raptors took a 52-49
lead into the break.

P.J. Tucker’s basket with 3:43 left to play in the third put Toronto up 68-64
before the Trail Blazers closed the period out with a 10-0 spurt to take a
74-68 lead into the final quarter.

The Raptors’ lead rose to 78-71 early in the fourth before Portland ripped off
seven straight points to even the score as the game remained tight down the
stretch.

“We let this slip out of our hands,” said Jack. “They made some plays at the
end. T.J. is tough to cover on the pick-and-roll.”

Game Notes

Garbajosa finished with 10 points and five rebounds for Toronto…Jack ended
with 12 points for the Trail Blazers…Portland outrebounded Toronto
46-33…The Raptors shot 48.3 percent from the floor, while the Trail Blazers
shot 44.4 percent…Portland’s Jamaal Magloire finished with a game-high 15
rebounds.

POR TOR