Boston at Portland
10:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 98.3 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Portland: 103.6 points allowed/100 possessions (16th)
Probable Portland starters:
View From The Opposing Bench: Portland Roundball Society
Thumbnail: The Celtics kick off a four-game road-trip against the typically injury-decimated Trailblazers tonight at the Rose Garden. The Blazers dropped one Monday to Sacramento but had won five straight previously, led by the surging Aldridge, who has been tasked with carrying the Blazers in the absence of Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and Marcus Camby. Aldridge is less than 100% himself, having injured his hip Monday but has been filling up the stat sheet lately, including a career-high 37 points against the Timberwolves last week.
On the Boston side, with Kendrick Perkins back, and a series of tough road games and elite opponents coming into the TD Garden right afterwards, the C’s have the opportunity to put their 2009-10 second-half staggering behind them for good with a strong performance.
It starts here, with a very winnable game against a broke-down opponent.
Last Time On Celtics Vs. Trailblazers:
WHAT THE TRAILBLAZERS DO WELL:
Slow It Down. The Blazers are again one of the slowest teams in the league, and with Boston also amongst the league’s most deliberate, we can safely expect a half-court struggle tonight.
Take Care Of The Ball. When you play as slowly as the Blazers, the importance of every possession is magnified. Nate McMillan’s crew honors that, by turning the ball over only 12.86% of the time, good for fifth best in the league.
Crash The Offensive Glass. And of course, second chances are crucial with slow paced teams. Portland is tops in the league with a 30.91 ORR. Injury Caveat – With Aldridge potentially hobbled and Camby out, this ain’t the same front line that’s been generating these numbers.
WHAT THE TRAILBLAZERS DO POORLY:
The Blazers are a mediocre offensive team and a mediocre defensive team. They’re particularly vulnerable to the Celtics because they allow the eighth highest eFG% in the league. If Boston comes out ready to move the ball, they’re going to be able to get good shots against this team.
Additionally, of the Blazers starting five, only Miller holds his opponents to something around average production (15.2 opponent’s PER). So, even if we assume Aldridge plays brilliantly, and holds Kevin Garnett to a draw, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen should be primed for good nights.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Aldridge. In his last five games, he’s averaging 24.4 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Garnett. Averaging only 5.2 rebounds in his five games since returning from injury. Perhaps it’s a function of his conditioning but it’d be nice to see him rack up a double-double tonight.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
The Blazers’ wings. Without Roy, a mediocre group.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
Move the ball, make the shot. Repeat until victory.
PREDICTION: Boston 95 Portland 90