Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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NBA Preview: Portland Trail Blazers (0-2) at Toronto Raptors (1-2)

The Toronto Raptors know that they must begin to find better scoring chances for Pascal Siakam starting Monday night against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers.

Siakam scored only 11 points Saturday night in a 114-107 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the return of former Toronto coach Nick Nurse.

The Raptors, who were playing the second of back-to-back games on Saturday, will be facing a team playing its second game in two nights. Portland opened a three-game road trip with a 126-98 loss to the 76ers on Sunday night. The Trail Blazers are winless in three games this season.

Siakam has averaged 14.7 points over the first three games of the season. Last season, Siakam averaged a career-best 24.2.

Siakam added seven rebounds, four assists and one block in 36 minutes on Saturday.

The Raptors have lost two in a row after winning their season opener for their new coach.

Gary Trent Jr. added 17 points on Saturday, followed by rookie Gradey Dick with 16 and Dennis Schroder with 15 points.

The Trail Blazers are making adjustments of their own. They are trying to replace the scoring of Anfernee Simons, who is out four to six weeks after having surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb.

They also are working in center Deandre Ayton, who played last season with the Phoenix Suns.

Billups had planned to develop Simons and Ayton as a pick-and-roll combination.

Ayton had seven points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes on Sunday. Shaedon Sharpe led Portland with 20 points. That comes after he scored 24 points on Friday in a 102-97 loss to the Orlando Magic.

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