The Portland Trail Blazers saw their quick two-game win streak come to a halt after losing to the Boston Celtics 115-93.
The Blazers couldn’t overcome an inefficient offensive performance and a three point barrage from the Celtics. Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 27 points, but did not receive much scoring help with no other Blazers scoring more than 13 points. The story of the game for the Blazers was 37 percent from the field including 28 percent from three. The 15 turnovers didn’t help either.
The Celtics broke their own three game skid with this win at home. They were lead by the 30 of Jayson Tatum who was supplemented by the 21 points of Derrick White and the 17 points of Al Horford. The Celtics played a much more efficient game and finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep.
Lillard opened the game with two quick threes, both off of an assist from Jusuf Nurkic who returned to action after missing over a month. Nurkic made an immediate impact with not just his passing, but his screening as well to get Lillard open. However, it was not enough to out-duel Horford, who had eight points, including two threes of his own, to contribute to a 15-11 lead for the Celtics heading into the first timeout.
The Celtics started to build a lead thanks to hot shooting, but they couldn't figure out how to shake the Blazers. The Blazers managed to keep the deficit to single-digits despite hot shooting from the Celtics and being plagued by turnovers. The Blazers had five turnovers in the quarter which led to four points on the other end for the Celtics.
Both teams shot well from deep in the first quarter. However, the Celtics had the edge as they shot 6/10 from deep as opposed to the 5/11 from the Blazers. Lillard had 11 points in the quarter as he lead all scorers. The first quarter ended in a 35-28 lead for the Celtics.
The Celtics opened the quarter with a quick three to take the first double-digit lead of the game. However, Cam Reddish answered with a pair of free throws that had the added benefit of a third early foul on Marcus Smart. The Blazers would add just one more point, but three more turnovers, before taking a 47-31 deficit into the TV timeout at about five minutes into the quarter.
Lillard finally hit the first Blazers field goal of the second quarter with just over five minutes left in the half. The floodgates stayed tightly shut, however, as the Blazers continued to turn the ball over and miss shots. The Blazers added just three more field goals for the rest of the quarter. However, they were able to add 9 free throws and force some Celtics mistakes.
Despite a low scoring 17 point quarter from the Blazers, they were able to stay within striking distance thanks to just 25 from the Celtics. The first half ended with a 60-45 lead for the Boston Celtics. Lillard led all scorers with 19 in the first half, but was followed closely by Tatum’s 16 points.
Nurkic scored his first field goal in over a month on the opening possession of the third quarter with a strong lay-up in the paint. The Celtics followed up 12 straight misses from three to end the first half with two threes early in the third quarter to take a 21 point lead into the first timeout of the half.
Out of the timeout, Jerami Grant banked in a three pointer for the Blazers’ first three since the first quarter. Then Dame added two more free throws on a fourth foul from Smart. But the Celtics would not let up. They hit seven threes in the quarter and were able to outpace the Blazers offense.
Before the end of the third quarter, the Celtics were able to extend their lead to 22 thanks in large part to an 11-2 run that ended the quarter. Boston led the Blazers 94-72 heading into the final quarter.
The Blazers offense seemed to escape them once again as they allowed the Celtics to pile on some points without any answer. A couple turnovers and missed shots to start the quarter saw the Celtics push their lead to 27. Shaedon Sharpe scored an and-one basket three and a half minutes into the quarter for the first points for the Blazers, but couldn't make the free throw.
Some momentum started to build for the Blazers, but it seemed too little too late. Right after a small run for the Blazers, the bottom of the bench came in to play the final six minutes of the game.
Unlike most nights, this bench clearing did not mark the end of notable events. A 15-4 Blazers run was highlighted by two threes from Sharpe to bring the score within 14. Two straight lay-ups from White, including an and-one put the lead out of reach despite the hot play from the Blazers.
Make sure to check back for the extended recap coming soon.
The Blazers continue their tour of the east coast with a stop in Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Friday night. The game starts at 4:00 p.m. PT.