Even when the shots will not fall for the Blazers in the first half, no one seems to be able to stop them.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 14 rebounds, Chris Kaman had 16 points and 8 rebounds, and the Blazers overcame a slow first half to defeat the Boston Celtics 94-88 at the TD Garden in Boston Sunday night.
The trip to Boston could not have started worse. The Blazers missed their first nine shots, and hit their first field goal a the 7:14 mark of the period. Even worse, Damian Lillard's knee collided with Kelly Olynyk's knee, and Lillard was hobbled somewhat for the quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge and Lillard combined to shoot 1-of-12 in the quarter. Yet the team held on with strong defense and three turnovers by the Celtics, followed by quality shooting by Nicolas Batum to only trail 23-21 after one.
The poor shooting for Portland carried into the second quarter as every bench player not named Chris Kaman shot a combined 0-for-5. The defense held firm on the opposite end, and once the starters returned to action, Aldridge and Lillard started finding their shots. A new issue emerged in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo being able to drive at will, and the Celtics held serve at the half, 49-44.
The second half continued to be kind to Portland as Aldridge started heating up, shooting 3-of-6. His presence was felt elsewhere with strong rebounding on the defensive end, and the Blazers took the lead for the first time with Aldridge diving to the floor to secure a loose ball, allowing Lillard to drain a three. Steve Blake continued the scoring off the bench with seven in the quarter.
The Blazers broke the game open in the fourth quarter, starting it off with a 12-0 run. Kaman and Blake continued their hot night, and Portland's lead got as high as 12. Jared Sullinger had a rough half shooting the ball, but hit two key threes to cut the lead to four with a minute to play. Portland maintained their strong defense, and a Wesley Matthews dunk sealed the game.
Steve Blake had a season-high 11 points off the bench.
Stevens: "We were missing layups and missing open jump shots. But we really defended a team that's a good offensive team."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 24, 2014
Win vs Boston. Next stop Philadelphia #RipCityRoadTrip— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) November 24, 2014
Just win baby... ✈️✈️... Philly— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) November 24, 2014
#Blazers Steve Blake said he was reading defensive coverages when he twice crossed Evan Turner over badly in 2nd half: "Sometimes ... (cont)— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 24, 2014
Blake cont: "... you can make a defender a little silly playing off their defensive schemes. So I used that to my advantage."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 24, 2014
#Blazers Chris Kaman on Steve Blake's nasty crossovers: "The old Shake-and-Blake."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 24, 2014
Passing out on the plane. Way to grind it out tonight. #NeverSayDie #RIPCITY http://t.co/qkchtA7q0F— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) November 24, 2014
VIDEO: Robin Lopez finishes a pick-and-roll with a vicious dunk.
Lillard said his knee was ok:
"@MikailaGlambert: @Dame_Lillard is your knee good? I was scared for a minute!" Yea... I'm fine thanks.— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) November 24, 2014