So many times Portland has beaten the opponent on their final shot. This time the Boston Celtics did it to the Blazers.
Damian Lillard had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, Wesley Matthews had 18 (16 in the second half), but the Portland Trail Blazers fell on a late three to the Boston Celtics, 90-89 Thursday night at Moda Center.
The early scoring for Portland came from Chris Kaman and Thomas Robinson, with Kaman having back-to-back strong first quarters. He led the Blazers in the quarter with six. The bench contributed seven in the period as Lillard, Matthews, and Nicolas Batum combined to shoot 1-of-9. Boston trailed at the start but used an 11-4 run to seize the lead, holding a four point advantage after one.
Strong interior defense by the Blazers kept the game close in the second quarter. Lillard got going, scoring seven in the period to lead a 9-1 run to take the lead. Kaman had six in the quarter, but Boston used timely from Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner to re-take the lead and hold a two point advantage at halftime.
The three point shot had not been there for Portland most of the night. They came into the second half shooting just 1-of-9 from three. That changed in a hurry thanks to the all-time leading three point shooter in Trail Blazers history. Matthews hit four threes in the period, the Blazers hit seven total, and seized a lead over the Celtics. Lillard had seven in the period, none more emphatic than a driving dunk with one second on the clock. With the efforts of their starting backcourt, Portland led by five after three.
During the quarter, Batum re-aggravated his wrist injury going for a rebound. He was diagnosed with a sprained wrist, went to the locker room and did not return.
Portland expanded their lead to as far as seven, but the Celtics hung close on strong shooting by Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton. Lillard drained a long three for a six point lead, but Sullinger and Bradley tied the game. Matthews hit one of two free throws, and Bradley missed an open two. Portland had three opportunities to score on the other end, but missed all three, but Boston turned it over on the fast break. After a missed Steve Blake three, Robinson grabbed the rebound but was fouled, hitting one of two free throws for an 89-87 Blazer lead. Sullinger missed an open three, but Boston grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 8.5 second remaining. Sullinger was stripped by Matthews, but Sullinger passed the ball from his rear end to Turner, who hit an open three in the corner. Lillard caught the final inbound pass, but was smothered before he could shoot to end the game.
The Blazers bench scored 28, with CJ McCollum leading the bench scoring with 10. Robinson had 9 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks starting for Aldridge.
With loss to Celtics, #Blazers fall to 31-13, drop below Memphis (30-12) into third place in Western Conference.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) January 23, 2015
"It is what it is. We have to move on." Coach Stotts on LA being out. #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 23, 2015
"It's gonna be by committee." Coach Stotts on filling LA's minutes. #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 23, 2015
Nic Batum outside the Blazers locker room wearing large brace on his right wrist/forearm. Stotts had no update— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 23, 2015
Wes Matthews sitting at his locker with a look of pure defeat. #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 23, 2015
Chris Kaman just told a camera man… "I don’t care what you do. I’m gonna eat my yogurt." Still the best #Blazers quote.— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 23, 2015
#Blazers went into tonight 20-0 in games in which they held a lead going into fourth quarter. Now they're 20-1— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) January 23, 2015
Asked Wes to sum up the feeling when he heard Aldridge would be out. His response; "Pissed" #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 23, 2015