For a while, Portland was able to take advantage of some key missing guys for the Celtics and jumped out to as much as a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter, but Boston ended the half on a 13-2 run to claw right back into contention.
The Blazers managed to keep Isaiah Thomas - who averages just shy of 30 points per game - bottled up for much of the early going, but he got it going during the run and found himself with 16 points heading into the locker room.
Damian Lillard led the way for Portland with 15 points, and Al-Farouq Aminu turned in a great shift off the bench with 13 points, including eight trips to the foul line to help keep the Blazers afloat.
Portland Trail Blazers 55, Boston Celtics 49
Boston continued to steadily chip away at Portland’s lead until eventually reclaiming it for themselves just a few minutes into the third quarter on Al Horford’s jumper to make it 59-57. A see-saw of sorts lead to a tightly contested and entertaining final frame.
Kelly Olynyk played well off the bench for the Celtics and knocked down a couple timely threes down the stretch which seemed to stave Portland off each time they looked to get within striking distance. Still, it seemed nobody could deliver the knockout punch.
Aminu added to his big night with another 13 points, and several times the Blazers were able to pull within one or two points in the fourth quarter, but Boston did just enough to stay ahead and eventually pull away. Thomas scored 15 of his 34 points in the period and Portland executed poorly in the closing minutes to dash any hopes of another comeback.
The Blazers will get a few days of rest before they host the Atlanta Hawks Monday night in another TNT game - late tip set for 7:30 p.m.
-- Ryan Rosback | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter