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PREVIEW: Familiar faces, new places as Portland Trail Blazers face Toronto Raptors

Mar 19, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gestures from the sideline during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gestures from the sideline during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

There will be some familiar faces in different places Sunday night when the Portland Trail Blazers visit the Toronto Raptors in Tampa.

The teams completed a trade Thursday, with the Raptors sending Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

In his debut with Portland, Powell scored 22 points Friday in a 112-105 victory over the host Orlando Magic.

In their Toronto debuts, Trent scored eight points and Hood two in a 104-100 loss to the visiting Phoenix Suns on Friday. The Raptors have lost 10 of their past 11 games.

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Powell set a franchise record for points in a Trail Blazers midseason debut on 7-for-13 shooting from the field, including 5-for-7 on 3-point attempts.

“It’s what I expect,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “He knows how to play the game. He plays the way we play. He moves well without the ball. He shoots threes. He’s in shape. I wouldn’t have said he’s going to score 22, but I had a good feeling that he would play well for us.”

Damian Lillard did not play for the Blazers on Friday because of a left-knee contusion. Stotts said he was hopeful Lillard would return Sunday against Toronto.

The plan, according to Stotts, is to use a three-guard lineup featuring Lillard, Powell and CJ McCollum for a large part of games. There was no commitment yet that Powell would be a starter.

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In his six seasons with Toronto, Powell averaged 9.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 20.2 minutes in 349 games (120 starts). Powell ranks third in franchise history in scoring as a reserve (1,578 points) and is one of 13 players in franchise history to score 40 or more points in a game.

He is averaging 19.7 points a game this season.

“It’s really hard because everybody’s texting you from the organization you were just with – bummed, sad, crying,” Powell said. “It’s a very emotional journey. … I wasn’t looking at anything else outside of Toronto. I really wanted to stay in Toronto.”

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Trent averaged 15 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 30.8 minutes in 41 games (23 starts) this season with Portland. His father, Gary Trent Sr., appeared in 13 games with the Raptors during the 1997-98 season.

Hood averaged 4.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 19.1 minutes in 38 games (five starts) this season with Portland.

Trent started on Friday and played 31 minutes.

“I thought he was good,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Obviously it’s difficult to come in, fly in at night and join a team and play, and play against one of the best teams in the league. I thought he was good. I liked his aggression on defense most of all.”

Hood was the first substitute used by Nurse on Friday and played 18 minutes.

“Rodney’s been around for a while, working his way back from some medical things (torn Achilles), but got some size on the wing, can shoot a bit and again, a good person,” Nurse said. “He showed some IQ, he made some good passes, he was on the glass pretty decent, he’s got some athletic ability.”

The Raptors were without Paul Watson Jr. and DeAndre’ Bembry on Friday because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

–Field Level Media