The Blazers and Celtics battled to the final minutes, and Portland fell apart. Boston outscored Portland 38-23 in the fourth quarter to overcome a double-digit deficit and steal a win, 105-100. CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard led the Blazers, along with Al-Farouq Aminu and Jusuf Nurkic.
This was a weird game, with a short-handed Celtics team keeping up with the Blazers from horn to horn, and Portland seemingly helpless to stop it. Here were a few essentials:
- Never underestimate a short-handed team. Just like Oklahoma City a few days ago, and the Blazers themselves earlier this season, Portland couldn’t hold off the decimated Celtics. Marcus Morris looked like a Hall-of-Famer, and the rest of the team pecked away at Portland’s lead in the fourth quarter.
- McCollum Comes Alive. CJ McCollum took over in the fourth quarter, focusing on ISO plays to beat the Celtics defenders. After Boston had successfully mounted their comeback, the Blazers needed someone to step up. CJ was their guy. It just wasn’t enough.
- Evan Turner is hurting. As the Blazers prepare for a road trip, Turner struggled to stay active on the court. He was listed as “probable” with lower back pain, but was active at tip-off. He scored 6 points with 2 assists, while in visible pain. He grimaced through the game, but finished anyway. His status will be a key factor in the upcoming trip.
Road trip! Portland plays early games Sunday in Oklahoma City (4:00), Tuesday in New Orleans (5:00) and Wednesday in Memphis (5:00) before returning home for a game against the Clippers a week from tonight.