In a highly entertaining matchup that featured 27 lead changes, the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the tenacious Boston Celtics on the road to run away with a 127-123 overtime win that had its fair share of impressive performances.
The Blazers were led by C.J. McCollum (35 points, 3 assists, 3 steals), Damian Lillard (28 points, 7 assists) and Meyers Leonard (17 points, 4 rebounds).
The Celtics were led by Isaiah Thomas (41 points, 6 assists) and Marcus Smart (17 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds).
After a slow start, the Blazers closed an early gap and played Boston close for much of the first half, before letting the lead slip away in the closing minutes. With Damian Lillard relegated to the bench with foul trouble, the task was left to C.J. McCollum to carry the offensive load and he delivered. McCollum started a perfect 5/5 from the field and had 26 points in the half to keep Portland in the game.
If C.J. was Batman, Meyers Leonard was his Robin, putting in an impressive shift where he scored 8 points off the bench including this:
Yes - that’s TWO straight absolute posterizing slams on second-year Jordan Mickey. Throw it down big fella.
Portland Trail Blazers 56, Boston Celtics 65
Portland upped the defensive intensity to start the third period and quickly chipped away at the Celtics’ lead, using a 22-7 run, including 11-straight over a several minute stretch to regain the lead midway through the quarter on a Noah Vonleh jam.
Boston still managed to hang around and eventually pull back ahead behind Terry Rozier, who found success penetrating Portland’s weak defensive interior. Lillard finally started to find his stroke from deep and countered with nine points in the third after managing only three in the first half.
With his team in need Leonard again answered the call off the bench, knocking down two big threes to cling on to a small Blazer lead heading into the final frame.
After being very up-and-down for most of the afternoon, the fourth quarter was a grind as fouls aplenty from both sides slowed the game to a crawl. Lillard continued to get timely buckets down the stretch and got some help from Evan Turner, who came alive in the arena where he last year called home.
McCollum had what looked to be the sealing basket, nailing a clutch fadeaway with 46 seconds remaining that gave Portland a three-point advantage, but Rozier again came through for the Celtics, drilling an angle three with just eight seconds to go to force overtime.
Portland Trail Blazers 113, Boston Celtics 113
Fatigue started to show in the extra period with sloppy play on both sides - Boston turned the ball over on several possessions and managed only two field goals before the final minute. The only guy on the floor with gas left in the tank looked to be Lillard.
It would be enough to hold on and walk away with a well-fought victory.
This concludes a four-game road trip for the Blazers, who will return home to the Moda Center Wednesday to host the Los Angeles Lakers in a nationally televised contest - tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
Stay tuned later tonight for analysis of this game from Dave Deckard, and an on-site report from Eric Griffith.
Blazer’s Edge Night 2017
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-- Ryan Rosback | email@example.com | Twitter