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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics Preview

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (11-12) vs. Boston Celtics (12-11)

After a loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Portland Trail Blazers hope to recover against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are on the second night of a travel back-to-back, having lost against the Utah Jazz last night 137-130. The Blazers dropped their last game against the Spurs 114-83, but they were missing Damian Lillard to rest and Nassir Little was out with a sprained ankle.

Saturday, December 4 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: ROOT Sports
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Anfernee Simons (out)
Celtics injuries: Jaylen Brown (out), Al Horford (out), Romeo Langford (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Celtics Blog

What To Watch For

Will the real CJ McCollum please stand up? We need someone to show up and lead this team in the absence of Damian Lillard. Lately, McCollum has looked listless, especially on defense. The Blazers need CJ McCollum to show up and make a difference on offense, but it would also really help if he could learn to play defense.

Ouch. For a team that has often avoided the injury bug, the Trail Blazers have been bitten bad lately. Anfernee Simons sprained his ankle in the game against the Spurs, and this author may have gasped outloud on seeing it. Without Ant available, the Blazers lose significant firepower. Without Nassir Little, they lose extra juice. It isn’t just about missing Damian Lillard — it’s about missing key pieces of the roster that help lift both the offense and the defense.

Home court advantage. After the firing of Neil Olshey on Friday morning, Blazer fans took to Twitter to express their support for the team as they move into a new era. Expect the Rip City faithful to show up and show out — a turnaround from earlier this week when folks were giving away 100-level tickets for free.

What Others Are Saying

Over at Celtics Wire, they are reporting that someone on the Celtics showed up to the game against the Jazz in a Darth Vader costume.

And then someone showed up to the game wearing a Darth Vader suit. As in, a full one that could pass for the arch-villain himself if we were actually in a galaxy far, far away instead of Salt Lake City, Utah and the Jazz’ home court.

Wjsy of Celtics Blog examines why the Celtics lost to the Jazz.

Different time zone, long flight to Salt Lake City, and less than two minutes into the game, you might forgive somewhat lackadaisical defense, but as a former player, Udoka understands players finding a rhythm after a handful of makes. Mike Conley hit his first three three-pointers in the first quarter and would make all seven from distance on the night.

Udoka acknowledged that the team’s defense was better after that disastrous first frame, but given how hot Utah was, Boston couldn’t put out the fire. Even after the Celtics ramped up their pressure defensively and scored 31 points off of 19 turnovers, the Jazz scored 78 points in the second half. At some point, you have to tip your cap to the other side.