for this game

Roy sparks Blazers to ninth straight win

Dec 20, 2007 - 7:10 AM PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- After one month of the season, the Portland Trail Blazers appeared to be a team without much direction. Just three weeks later, they seem to be nearly unstoppable.

Brandon Roy had 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to lead the Blazers to their ninth straight win, a 101-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Portland finished the month of November at 5-11, further extending a stretch of futility that had not seen the franchise experience a winning record over the course of a month since November 2005.

However, following a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on December 2, the Blazers have not experienced defeat since.

With Wednesday's win, the Blazers have won nine straight games for the first time since they won 12 in a row during the 2001-02 season.

"We've been bonding since the beginning of the summer, and we always said that we don't know when it's going to kick in, but now it's starting to kick in," Roy said. "We got everybody feeding off of each other and we are riding this wave right now."

Roy, the Western Conference Player of the Week the previous two weeks, continued his high level of play in this contest, scoring 16 of his points in the first half to keep Portland within striking distance against a Raptors' offense that shot 50 percent (20-of-40) after 24 minutes and over 55 percent (35-for-63) through three periods.

Toronto, which never led by more than eight points, held the lead from the early part of the second period until the middle of the fourth.

"Toronto is a great shooting team and, in the first half, they didn't seem to miss anything," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "But once again in the fourth, and down the stretch, we tightened up defensively and seemed to recognize, as we have during this streak, the prime scoring situations."

After Jason Kapono hit a jumper to give the Raptors an 87-80 advantage, Roy sparked a 15-2 run with five points during a five-plus minute stretch to leave Portland with a 95-89 lead.

"He's just taking over the game right now," McMillan said. "Down the stretch, he even called a few plays. No question, he's All-Star caliber."

"I don't know if they ran out of gas or not," said Roy, who has averaged 24.0 points during the nine-game run. "They played great for three quarters and then, finally, they started missing some shots. We were able to rebound and not allow them to get second shots."

From that point on, Travis Outlaw and James Jones closed out Toronto with six points over the final 1:59 to allow the Blazers to improve to 11-3 at home.

"We told Travis that he needs to keep shooting," said Roy of Outlaw, who was mired in a 2-of-19 shooting slump at one point over the last two games. "I told him that we need him to make plays for us and I think just with everybody saying that to him, he started believing in himself and he made some huge plays for us once again."

LaMarcus Aldridge, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, returned after a five-game absence due to a heel injury and had 15 points and seven rebounds for Portland.

Jose Calderon had 18 points and nine assists and Chris Bosh added 18 and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for just the second time in their last seven games.

"We need to be more positive out there," Bosh said. "We had the lead on the road in the second half of a back-to-back. This team is tough. They are on a roll right now and they were shooting the ball well. We are the fourth-best team in the (Eastern Conference) right now, and we just have to do a better job."

"Brandon Roy made some unbelievable plays out there," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "The turnovers in the fourth quarter (six) and dumb fouls, those are things that disappointed me. Other than that, we just have to play better."

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