A tremendous back and forth contest between the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers resulted in a 127-123 victory for the Blazers.
The game started with the Celtics taking an early lead but C.J. McCollum carried his team back into the game to end the opening quarter with a 28-26 lead for Boston. McCollum led his team in points after the opening quarter with 12, while Jae Crowder continued his decent play by contributing 11 points and leading the C’s in points.
Both teams traded baskets in the second quarter but it was Boston that was able to pull away within the final four minutes and increase their halftime lead to 65-56 lead. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics in points with 17 (15 in the second quarter) but 3 other starters scored in double digits in the first half. Portland’s problem was that their first half was a one man show as C.J. McCollum led all scorers with 26 points.
With a decently comfortable lead, the Celtics were looking to come out of the half with the same energy as they ended with, but things didn’t go as planned. The Blazers went on an 11-0 run to open up the quarter and give themselves a small lead but the Celtics once again responded with a run of their own. Portland ultimately held a slim 88-86 lead heading into the final 12 minutes and looked to spread the ball around in the final frame.
The final quarter just consisted of both teams trading baskets and swapping leads but Portland pulled out a slight 111-108 advantage with about a minute remaining. Thomas ended up driving to the basket for one of his usual miraculous layups to bring the C’s to within three, but it was Terry Rozier that hit the clutch game-tieing three to send the two teams to overtime notched at 113.
The overtime period didn’t consist of a lot of action as IT gave Boston their only overtime lead that was quickly answered by the Blazers, who never relinquished their lead after that point. Despite Isaiah Thomas scoring 41 points and taking sole possession of second in the league in scoring, it wasn’t enough to handle the deadly tandem of Lillard and McCollum. Lillard finished with 28 points and 7 assists, while McCollum led the team with 35 points.
Boston got solid performances from Horford (17points & 9 rebounds), Crowder (16 points), Smart (17 points), and Rozier (15 points) as well, but it obviously wasn’t enough and the Celtics have lost their second straight game to struggling opponents. They definitely miss their best defender, Avery Bradley, who coach Stevens said could miss another week. Boston has a tough opponent to face to get themsleves back on track as they fly to Washington to play their new rival, the Wizards on Tuesday night.