The Blazers spread the scoring around tonight, and finished with seven players in double figures:
- LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists)
- Damian Lillard (15 points, 6 assists)
- Robin Lopez (15 points, 13 rebounds)
- Nicolas Batum (16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists)
- Wesley Matthews (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists)
- Mo Williams (11 points, 4 assists)
And rookie CJ McCollum scored 10 points (off 2-3 three-point shooting) with an assist in his second game as a Blazer.
First Quarter: More of the same to start the game, as the Blazer defense doesn't bother to take the court, and the Celtics easily take advantage for a 9 point lead. They tried to make a run, but Boston hit 75% of their shots for an 11 point lead, as Portland made no effort to force them out of position. But Blazers rookie CJ McCollum hit two three-pointers to keep things close.
Boston 32, Portland 27
Second Quarter: The Blazers closed to within a possession of the lead, but fell apart again. They allowed more layups and free throws, while giving the ball away at the other end. Mo Williams embodied the ongoing online discussions of his merits by threading a nice pass to McCollum for a three-point attempt... then attempting a behind-the-head pass directly to the Celtics. Boston retook a 9 point lead at the midpoint. After a cold spell by the Celtics, the Blazers stormed back, finally tying the game late in the half.. only to watch Boston hit a string of consecutive shots to stay ahead.
Boston 60, Portland 58
Third Quarter: Boston kept hitting all their shots, both easy and frustratingly hard. However, the Blazers stayed close while waiting for them to cool down (not sure it occurred to them to also work harder on defense). Before long, the Blazers used their inside advantage to pull ahead by 7. As the lead reached 9 halfway into the quarter, the bench started to enter. And just like that, here comes Boston. A few unlikely three-pointers cut the lead to 4, and the teams fought to a standstill from there.
Portland 90, Boston 86
Fourth Quarter: Boston was oh-so-close to taking the lead thanks to continued hot shooting, but Mo Willaims helped settle down the team with a few nice plays. By the time Batum nailed a three-pointer, Boston was down 13 and needed a timeout. Boston attempted to push back, but Portland still led by 13 with 3:30 left. The Celtics kept finding ways to tip rebounds, leading to a three-pointer to pull within 10. In response, the Blazers turned the ball over twice in a row, and gave up an and-1.. except Jeff Green missed, Boston got the rebound and Green scored again. In a minute, the Blazer 13 point lead dropped to 6. In response, they turned it over again with 2 minutes left. Green missed, and Boston got another rebound. They finally missed a three-pointer to bail out the Blazers. With less than a minute left, the Celtics pulled within 6 and got the ball due to another Blazer turnover. Portland picked up the defense, and Boston couldn't get anything started on offense. With the clock under 24 seconds and no more opportunities to turn the ball over, free throws sealed the game for the Blazers.
More rest for the Blazers, as they don't play again until Cleveland arrives for a Wednesday night game. In the meantime stay tuned for more from Ben and Dave. -- Tim
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