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Game 16: Blazers (6-9) @ Celtics (8-7) Open Thread

Portland @ Boston
TD Garden
7:30 PM EST

Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 104.9 points/100 possessions (13th)
Portland: 105.1 points/100 possessions (12th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 106.5 points allowed/100 possessions (23rd)
Portland: 109.0 points allowed/100 possessions (29th)

Probable Blazers starters: Damian Lillard (PG), Nicolas Batum (SG), Wesley Matthews (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), J.J Hickson (C)

View from the Opposing Bench: Portland Roundball Society

Brendan Jackson caught up with the guys at Portland Roundball Society to go 3-on-3 on the matchup tonight. Here’s one of Brendan’s answers for a sampling:

1. Kevin Garnett has shifted over the last year almost exclusively to the center position. The Blazers also start a center out of position in J.J. Hickson. Do you predict Garnett will spend most of his time guarding Hickson or on LaMarcus Aldridge?

Garnett will almost definitely be guarding Aldridge, however the Celtics switch picks a lot and often pick up different men in transition so it’s not likely to be a huge factor.  Brandon Bass, the other alternative, is just not suited to defend really tall guys that have good turn around post moves and can shoot over him.  Aldridge is one of the best in the biz and needs to be held to his averages if the Celtics have a shot.  Garnett gives them the best chance to do that.
Check out the full post at Portland Roundball Society

Other Items of Note:

Courtney Lee will get the start at guard alongside Jason Terry tonight in place of the suspended Rajon Rondo. Here were my thoughts on the arrangement from earlier today:

You can likely pencil Lee into the shooting guard spot for tonight to matchup with Wesley Matthews, but I’ll be curious to see whether Doc trusts Terry or Barbosa to handle the shifty rookie for the bulk of tonight’s minutes. If neither is up to the job, Doc could also place Lee on Lillard and attempt to hide Terry or Barbosa on Matthews, not an ideal situation given Matthews’ height advantage on both players, but still a possibility.

Either way, the C’s catch somewhat of a break tonight given the fact that Portland has a very underwhelming bench in the backcourt, so they won’t be able to exploit Terry and Barbosa as much with Rondo sidelined, although that reality may change tomorrow night against the Bucks explosive backcourt.

Chris Wilcox (illness) and Jeff Green (knee) also plan on playing tonight, so look for Doc to stick with a nine-man rotation featuring Barbosa, Green, Sullinger and Wilcox off the bench against a weak Portland second unit that Boston should be able to take advantage of.

Prediction: Celtics 99, Blazers 90

  • Phil

    Interesting stat I just saw; Courtney Lee has five three-pointers and six free throws in 345 minutes this year. It's safe to say that he's been pretty far below what we all expected. That's relevant because this game offers a prime opportunity to get going. For how impressive Lillard has looked offensively, he's been every bit as inept on the other end. I assume he'll be guarding Terry, but open looks should abound for both if Doc goes after him (which he should.)

    Jeff Green might even have a decent game if he gets to play against the Blazer bench long enough. We all saw what he did against preseason level competition in the preseason.

  • elroz

    will the Celtics really hold the Blazers to 90 points? Even the Blazers might score more.

  • Phil

    Well that was cool, the Celtics came out on fire on both ends of the floor. Things look fluid on offense even without Rondo, and they're playing much more intense on defense than they have recently. Portland's got some extenuating circumstances in their defense (they're at the end of a long road trip I believe,) but it was still an impressive half.

    Also, I'm loving Scal's Xs and Os contributions on the CSN team. He mentioned right before tip off that the Cs would likely be blitzing Lillard on the PnR, and not only have they done it all game, but it's been ridiculously effective. He's been invisible so far.

  • Switcharoo

    Great first half, nice to see Green showed up. I wo dee how it’s going to pan out in the second though, that’s usually when they start to lose focus.