Jusuf Nurkic and Damian Lillard both put up double doubles as the Portland Trail Blazers won in a shootout with Boston Celtics, coming away with a 100-94 victory. Portland build up a 17-point halftime lead, only to see it all but disappear midway through the third period. Portland struggled with turnovers, but out-shot and out-rebounded the Celtics to earn the edge in the end.
Nurk and Dame PNR
Multiple players contributed to Portland’s early success, but the offensive attack was spearheaded by pick-and-rolls between Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic. The Celtics bigs opted to stay with Lillard on the ball screens, trying to push him to the sidelines when they could. The Bosnian Beast saw his opportunity and took advantage. He stayed active, moved to open spots, and created solutions. Nurkic made the right reads after receiving the ball, kicking it out when the defense collapsed and finishing strong when he was open.
Lillard’s decision making was also sound. When the Celtics tried to cut off his scoring, he stayed aggressive and tore the defense apart with his passing. He racked up his 6th assist just nine minutes into the game and finished with 12 for the night.
Two for who?
The two teams combined for 78 attempts from three-point range and only 20 free throw attempts. That sums up the flow of the game right there. They spent the whole night firing away. Whichever team knocked them down gained momentum. Both sides finished with 14 makes, although Portland missed 6 fewer attempts. It made the game fun to watch, but these guys are going to have sore elbows and wrists tomorrow morning.
Al-ways there when you need him
With Portland up by a slim 92-91 lead with 2:30 left in the fourth, Al-Farouq Aminu delivered a three, and then followed it up with a moonshot 90 seconds later. Plenty of players proved decisive in tonight’s game, but those two clutch threes sealed the win.
Damian Lillard was forced to be a distributor today, and he played the role like a natural. Everyone else stepped up offensively to help take down a very good Celtics team.
The Celtics are on their 10th consecutive day on the road and looked a bit sluggish, but Portland played well across the board.
Portland played one of the best halves of the year in the first half. The lapse to start the third quarter was mostly due to a lackadaisical attitude with the ball, too many turnovers, and a Celtic barrage from three. But Portland regathered.
The Blazers have been winning games all year by out-working people, and they did it again today. Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic combined for 12 offensive rebounds tonight. The Blazer’s don’t win without those boards. A great win all around for the Blazers tonight.
Evan Turner - Turner didn’t have his typical offensive impact today, but his man-to-man defense was spectacular. The Celtics must have forgotten what he is capable of because they put him on an island a few times on defense. Time after time, ET came away on the winning side of the duel.
Jake Layman - This was the most focused and vigilant that I have seen Layman this year. He was calling out switches early, pointing, and picking up multiple ball handlers in a single possession. He always looks energized, but today he was aware of what was going on on the defensive side of court. Kudos to him and the coaching staff for making progress on what had been a weakness.
Meyers Leonard - Two 3’s and a pair of offensive rebounds makes this the fourth straight game that Meyers gave the Blazers effective minutes.
Seth Curry - Seth has hit a three in almost every game this season, but only twice has he hit more than one. His presence from deep is vital to the second unit, so it was good to see him knock down 3 of 4 from deep tonight.
It’s early, but the win moves Portland into the 2 seed in the West.
The Blazers will take on the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday 11/14, in LA. This will already be the third time these teams will match up in the young season. The two teams split their previous two meetings.