Less than a week removed from the trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors are welcoming Norman Powell back to Tampa for the first time since their trade. Without Damian Lillard, Norman Powell put up 22 points on Friday during his first game as a Portland Trailblazer. Shooting 5/7 from three-point range and over 70% from the field, Powell continued his impressive 2021 shooting efficiency.

In an interview with Blake Murphy from The Athletic early this week, Nick Nurse said that he would try and blitz Powell as a defensive strategy. While it will be sad to see Norm in a different uniform, six years of knowledge and experience will go a long way in the Raptors defensive scheme.

If the starting lineup stays the same from last game, you can expect to see Gary Trent. Jr. as the Raptors starting small forward.

Besides seeing Norm in a different uniform, this game felt all too familiar for the Toronto Raptors. Similar to last game, the Raptors’ late comeback could not be realized. Being outscored by 13 in the third quarter, Toronto didn’t have the fire power to close the gap and win the game.

Despite late flashes from both Fred Vanvleet and Chris Boucher, Toronto’s half court offence completely collapsed for the majority of the second half. Unfortunately, the Raptors defence didn’t do much to keep them afloat either.

In 48 minutes of play, the Raps allowed 41 points from the Blazers bench, as well as a whopping 58 points from the paint. Since Chris Boucher’s shot blocking ability has cooled, the Toronto Raptors have struggled to contain opposing offences in an around the basket.

And as Toronto continues to slide down the NBA standings, the Raptors will have to determine whether or not they want to chase a playoff seed or a lottery pick.

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