TORONTO – DeMar DeRozan set career highs in free throws made and attempted, going 24-for-25 from the line, as the Toronto Raptors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 117-115 on Friday night.
DeRozan was set to break Dominique Wilkins’ league record for most free throws attempted without missing one until he missed his final shot with 0.9 seconds left.
DeRozan was clinical, slicing through Portland’s shoddy perimeter defence at will. The referees were content to blow the whistle whenever there was an opportunity, and DeRozan was happy to give them cause.
It was to be expected in such a closely officiated game, as only Houston’s James Harden and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins have shot more free throws than DeRozan this year. DeRozan finished with 38 points, while Kyle Lowry added 28.
Damian Lillard nearly led a spirited Trail Blazers comeback. He had 22 of his 50 points in the fourth quarter, erasing all but one point of the Raptors 15-point lead.
Those scoring leaders were predictable. Lowry and DeRozan combine to average 44.9 points per game, while Lillard and CJ McCollum average 46.1 points between them. Only Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, at 52.5 points, are a more productive starting backcourt.