You would think after last night’s heartbreaker in Golden State that the Celts might come out flat tonight. Well think again. The Celtics shot a torrid 70% from the floor in the 1st quarter, including 14 points in the paint. Avery Bradley led the charge, dropping 13 points in the quarter on 6 of 7 shooting. The Celtics were up 32-27 on the Blazers after one quarter. Things looked promising early.
Boston cooled off a bit in the second, but Jerryd Bayless came off the bench and provided a nice boost. Bayless had 10 points in the quarter and Boston extended their lead to 51-41 after Jerryd sunk a pull up jumper with 4:53 left in the 2nd quarter. Damian Lillard and the Blazers used a balanced attack to chip away at Boston’s lead though. Lillard (8 pts) was just one of eight different Blazers to score in the 2nd quarter, and we went into the half up by two points, 60-58.
The third quarter was where you could start to see the fatigue setting in. Boston was one gear slower and a bit less aggressive. They struggled to get the ball in the hoop, and Portland stepped things up a notch by attacking the rim. The Blazers got to the free-throw line 10 times and hit all 10. Portland is such a deep team, and it seemed every player on their roster contributed tonight. Nicolas Batum was the man in the 3rd. His 11 points, 3 rebounds & 3 assists sparked the Blazers to a 32 point quarter. If not for Sully’s 9 points and Avery Bradley’s 10, this game would have been over before the 4th even started. But Boston was still alive. They headed into the final frame down 90-86.
This was another fourth quarter of heartache & missed opportunities tonight. Boston had many chances to tie the game or even take the lead, but they just could not hit shots when they really needed them. The Celtics missed their final eight attempts from the field, and despite playing with a lot of heart, they just could not get it done. The Blazers win 112-108, and Boston goes 0-5 on their west coast trip and have now lost 8 in a row. It was clear the Celts just ran out of gas in the final quarter. Their wind & legs were gone, and they started to desperately chuck up jumpers. Boston shot just 23% in the final quarter and could not capitalize on the chances they had. Portland had 7 players in double figures led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 21 points.
The C’s now head back east and have three games at home next week. First up are the Houston Rockets on Monday night..
- Avery Bradley had a huge game, putting in 25 points on 11 of 19 shooting. He was the one constant in a game that saw the C’s sputter in the final two quarters.
- Jared Sullinger was the other reason Boston kept things close near the end. He had a double-double of 14 pts & 10 rebs off the bench. Kris Humphries started again tonight and did all he could to slow down Aldridge and Lopez. Humph had yet another solid line: 10 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls & 3 blks. Jeff Green had 16 points and 8 rebounds in 33 mins.
- Boston shot 4 of 14 from downtown.
- The Blazers seemed to get to every loose ball and had 31 second chance points
Steez steal, slam and scream
The Grid: (quick stats)
Portland has shot at least 70% from the foul line in 25 straight games, the third-longest streak in team history and longest since 1986.
— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 12, 2014