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Blazers hammer Raptors in low-scoring game

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 92-74 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night in a game that was overshadowed by injuries for both sides.

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Toronto also lost reserve Amir Johnson in the second half after he was ejected for arguing with an official. Johnson threw his mouthpiece and had to be restrained by his teammates before he left the court.

J.J. Hickson added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers, who were without injured starters Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.

The Raptors lost forward Andrea Bargnani to a right elbow injury and guard Kyle Lowry to a right shoulder problem during the game.

DeMar DeRozan had 20 points for the Raptors, who trailed by as many as 18 points late in the second half.

But the game was more about who didn't play - or had to leave.

Batum did not play because of back pain that hampered him in Portland's 99-80 home loss to Sacramento on Saturday, while Matthews was out because he strained his left hip in the fourth quarter against the Kings. Matthews tried to drive to the basket during warmups and limped off to the locker room, wincing.

Matthews missed a game for the first time in his four-year NBA career. He had played in 250 straight games, second-most among active players behind Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.

To replace Matthews and Batum, the Blazers started Sasha Pavlovic and rookie Victor Claver.

The Raptors were hurt late in the first quarter when Bargnani went to the locker room after falling awkwardly on a dunk. The Raptors said later that X-rays on his elbow were negative, but he did not return.

Toronto already was without Linas Kleiza, who has a sore right knee from Sunday night's 102-83 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Blazers pulled ahead 30-24 in the second quarter on Pavlovic's running hook, but the Raptors battled back and tied it at 38 on Ed Davis' putback.

Portland led 44-40 at the break and extended the lead with a 9-0 run capped by Aldridge's hook shot and free throw that made it 58-46 midway through the third quarter.

Lowry did not play in the second half after he hurt his right shoulder in a first-half fall.

The Raptors lost Johnson when he was ejected with 5:01 left in the third quarter. He had words with referee David Jones while trying to take the ball from him following a Portland free throw. After Johnson was ejected, he threw his mouthpiece at Jones and fellow players had to restrain him before he was escorted from the floor.

Pavlovic's fast-break layup put Portland up 79-68 and Hickson extended the lead to 83-68 with an alley-oop dunk from Nolan Smith.

NOTES: Blazers coach Terry Stotts and Raptors coach Dwane Casey are close friends, having worked together with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Dallas Mavericks. Casey said their familiarity doesn't mean the two aren't competitive. ``When we go out on the floor it's like playing your brother. You want to beat him,'' Casey said.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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