Both the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics needed a win Thursday night at the Moda Center, if they wanted to help their playoff positioning. A victory could bump the Celtics into the fourth seed in the East, only a half-game away from the third-seeded Atlanta Hawks. And the Blazers, who lost to the Celtics earlier in the month, are knocking at the door of the reeling fifth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Both teams used big runs to take double-digit leads, but neither could hold the advantage. After an Al-Farouq Aminu block bounced in the hands of Boston's Jae Crowder, whose three-pointer gave Boston a one-point lead, Portland needed an answer. And thanks to CJ McCollum, Aminu, and a key defensive stand by Allen Crabbe, the Blazers yanked control from the Celtics and never looked back.
The eventual 116-109 Blazers victory moved them to 40-36, cementing a lead over the 7-9 seeds, and pulling them within a game and a half of the injury-plagued Grizzlies.