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Monday, February 25, 2013

While You Were Falling Asleep Watching The Oscars, The Celtics Lost In Portland 92-86

I wish I could tell you that you missed a classic Celtics game tonight (assuming you didn't tune in) but like The Oscars, it left me with an unsettled feeling as Boston (29-27, 9-18 away) lost 92-86 to Portland (26-30, 18-9 home) at the Rose Garden. PS the Blazers had come in with a seven-game losing streak, ugh.

One of the reasons, besides the Western Conference being loaded, that Portland will likely miss out on the playoffs this season is that their bench is horrid. On the other hand, their starters are very underrated. Against the Celts, all they needed was double-figures from all five starters to get the win. Wesley Matthews led Portland with a game-high 24 points (five 3-pointers), Nicolas Batum added 18 points and six rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge scored his typical soft 16 points, rookie sensation Damian Lillard put up 12 points, six rebounds and six assists while J.J. Hickson had the game's lone double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds).

Paul Pierce (23 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (20 points, 9 rebounds) played great, the issue was that the rest of Boston's team was nowhere to be seen for the most part. Brandon Bass had 11 points and five rebounds while Jeff Green scored 11 points off the bench. The rest of the squad combined for 21 points.

Portland was in control the whole way, leading 27-21 after the first quarter and 49-42 at halftime. The only good quarter by the Celtics (25-22) got them back in it in the third but the Blazers made enough plays in the fourth (21-19) to break that ugly losing streak.

When you look at the box score, it's easy to realize why the Blazers came out on top in the end. They hit five more 3-pointers (7-2), three more free throws (15-12), grabbed 11 more rebounds (47-36) and dished out five more assists (21-16). The Celtics made five more steals (9-4) and scored 12 more fast break points (19-7) which seems to be the only reason it was so close.

The C's knew they had to have this game because it's hard to see them winning tomorrow night (9 p.m., CSN) in Utah since the Jazz (31-25, 3rd in Northwest Division) are a good team that always enjoys a distinct advantage at good old EnergySolutions Arena (part of me just died typing that). The Jazz are 21-6 at home this season.

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