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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics Preview

The Blazers look to keep the wins coming on the road.

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (35-28) vs Boston Celtics (34-30)

The Portland Trail Blazers face the Boston Celtics following a win over the Brooklyn Nets 128-109. The Celtics are fresh off of a tight overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs in which Jayson Tatum scored a career-high 60 points, tying the franchise record, after the Celtics rallied to come from behind despite a 32-point deficit. Meanwhile, the Blazers looked much more like themselves against the Nets, and after a handful of wins, they seem to be hitting their stride.

Sunday, May 2 - 4:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBATV, NBA League Pass or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out)
Celtics injuries: Kemba Walker (out), Jaylen Brown (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Celtics Blog

What To Watch For

  • Jusuf Nurkic. This should go without saying after his performances against the Grizzlies and the Nets. Nurkic excelled in the pick and roll, and he looked much more like his usual self on both sides of the ball. Given the time of year, it makes sense that Nurkic would finally be in the groove. Does anyone else feel a fever coming on?
  • Damian Lillard. Lillard has struggled in recent weeks, but he finally seemed to show up against the Nets. He only had two games over thirty points in the entire month of April, one against the Bucks early in the month in which he managed that many in just the first quarter, and his 32-point performance against Brooklyn. The Blazers badly need Lillard to show up with the hot hand.
  • Offense, Offense, and More Offense While the Celtics rank 14th overall in defensive rating with an estimated 113.06 points per 100 possessions, they have struggled on that side of the ball in recent games. The Blazers, meanwhile, are second to last. This could be a very high scoring game for both teams, especially if both Lillard and Tatum are hot.

What Others Are Saying

Daniel Poarch of Celtics Blog praises Jayson Tatum’s 60 point performance.

It cannot be overstated — Jayson Tatum was simply transcendent in this game, recording unquestionably the most remarkable game of his young career with a career-high 60 points. When the Celtics struggled through a brutal first half, he functioned as essentially their entire offense, and when they rallied in the second half, he was the one making the pivotal plays. Tatum was the best player to step on the court for his 45 minutes this evening, and he provided a massive rebuttal to recent questions about his “leadership” during Boston’s difficult season.

Over at the Boston Herald, Mark Murphy talked with Celtics coach Brad Stevens about his rotations and the impact of coronavirus.

“We’re going to do everything we can. Obviously when you don’t have everybody available you’re going to extend further into your bench and sometimes in a given game things aren’t going well and you have to try different things,” he said. “But I think we have a lot of information on our players. I think we have a lot of information on our team. I think we know what we would look like in a full roster situation and we know, or at least we have an idea, of what everybody brings to the table in that regard. I don’t have any, I feel very comfortable with how we would rotate and how we would go into a normal game, and then places eight, nine and if we get to 10, depending on a game, will be determined by the matchup.”

Jared Weiss of the Athletic asked Jayson Tatum about tying Larry Bird’s franchise record.

“Once you sit back after the game and think about what it means — Larry Bird, just to be up there, us two, and all the players that came before you to put on this uniform — yes, it’s a big deal,” he said. “I’m grateful for the position that I’m in. Hard to put into words, but that’s how I feel.”