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Depleted Raptors fall apart late as Carmelo Anthony nails game-winner for Blazers

Tuesday’s Raptors game was playing out like a good-news story about Toronto’s emerging new bench mob — until Carmelo Anthony spoiled it.

The 10-time NBA all-star scored with 4.1 seconds to play as part of a 28-point performance and lifted the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-99 triumph over the short-handed Raptors.

“I’ll always embrace those moments and love those moments,” said Anthony, who signed with Portland in November after a year’s absence from the league.

“Whenever you get a chance to have a moment like that you’ve got to take advantage of it. Throughout my career, I’ve always been a guy who will take those shots. I’ve made a ton of them and missed a lot of them as well. But you’ve got to be willing to step up and want to take them.”

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Kyle Lowry had 24 points and 10 assists for Toronto (24-13), while Serge Ibaka ended with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Oshae Brissett and Chris Boucher chipped in with 12 points each as part of a bench that contributed 36 points.

“Those guys were great,” coach Nick Nurse said. “First of all, they were unbelievable in the first half, the way they played and took it out there and they still held in pretty good in the second. . . take that [36 points] every night of the week and we’d be in really good shape.”

Damian Lillard had 20 points for Portland (16-22).

The Raptors’ depleted lineup wasn’t much of a factor for most of the night versus a Blazers team that seemed disinterested on the defensive end.

Portland led briefly in the game’s first two minutes but, until the Blazers’ late-game surge, the Raptors dominated, assembling a double-digit lead early in the second quarter.

Leading by nine points to start the fourth, Boucher scored four consecutive Toronto baskets — for 10 points — to almost snuff out Portland’s energy. But the Blazers continued to rally, and three-pointers by Lillard and Anthony made it a three-point match with just 1:46 to play.

“Lack of concentration,” Lowry said of Toronto’s late-game letdown. “They hit six threes in the fourth quarter. We missed some shots. They made a few shots. I think we let them get a little too loose in the fourth quarter.”

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