TORONTO - Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is a defence-first kind of guy.
His team didn't back him up, however, as the Portland Trail Blazers torched the Raptors 113-97 on Sunday before a sellout crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre.
"We've got to do a better job of containing the ball one-on-one," said Casey.
"You've got to make sure you get stops or it's going to be a long night, especially against a great three-point shooting team like Portland."
The Trail Blazers (44-20), who shot a sizzling 61 per cent from the field in the first half, finished at 52 per cent on the night— including 13-for-29 from three-point range.
LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 24 points and Damian Lillard added 23 as the Trail Blazers handed the Raptors (39-27) their tenth loss in 12 starts.
The Raptors had lost nine of 10 games before a 10-point win at home over Miami Friday night.
Toronto's Greivis Vasquez hit a 13-foot jumper with 8:38 to go in the fourth capping a 6-0 run that cut the Portland lead to eight points and briefly energized the sellout crowd.
But the Trail Blazers responded with a 16-8 run of their own over the next five minutes to end any possibility of drama and send many of the fans to the exits early.
Toronto was trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since winning their fourth straight against the Hawks in Atlanta back on Feb. 20.
"We need to go out there and fight and play with more intensity," said Vasquez, who finished with 10 points and three assists in nearly 18 minutes off the bench.
"Especially over this stretch, we haven't been able to get stops when we have to. We just have to play with some more pride, all of us."
After Terrence Ross hit a three-pointer for his first field goal of the night to tie it at 47-47 with 4:37 to go in the first half, the Trail Blazers took control. The visitors went on a 17-6 run to close out the second quarter to take a 64-53 into the break. It matched Portland's biggest lead of the half.
Portland led the rest of the way, widening the gap to as many as 18 points.
DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors with 22 points and eight rebounds.
Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and nine rebounds for Toronto.
"We have to be a step quicker," DeRozan said of the Toronto defence. "A lot of times on coverages we are just a step slow or late. We turn our head and they get the layup. We have to be more aware."
The Raptors, who return to action Monday night when they visit the Indiana Pacers, finished the night shooting a respectable 47 per cent from the field. But any time they carved into Portland's lead they were unable to sustain the momentum and make a game of it down the stretch.
"By getting stops and rebounding we got ourselves back in the game," Casey said of a second-half push that got the Portland lead to single digits. "It wasn't our offence."
Note— Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry had one steal and needs just one more to reach 100 for the second straight season, which would make him the first Raptor to record consecutive 100-plus steal seasons since Alvin Williams did it three straight years, from 2000-2003.