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Game 56: Celtics (29-26) @ Trail Blazers (25-30) Open Thread

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2012/0622/bos_g_pavlovic_sy_576.jpgBoston at Portland
9:00 P.M. ET
Rose Garden


Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 100.5 points/100 possessions (21st)
101.8 points/100 possessions (16th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 99.6 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
 105.6 points allowed/100 possessions (25th)

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

View From The Opposing Bench: The Portland Roundball Society

Thumbnail: For the second time this season, the Celtics get to see old friend, Sasha Pavlovic. However, that is obviously not the major storyline for this contest. It is rather, how will the Celtics respond after drubbing the Suns? Jeff Green started on Friday for Kevin Garnett, and he took advantage of his expanded role. In fact, he has done so during almost all of February. He has scored at least eight points in each of his last 14 games. Doctors did not expect Green to be fully recovered until the second half of the 2012-13 season, so it is possible that he is finally playing up to his expectations now that he is healthy.

With the Celtics adding bench players on the fly, they will actually be facing the worst scoring bench in the league. The Trail Blazers’ 16.6 bench points per game are by far the lowest by an NBA team this season. Their weak bench combined with their youthful starting lineup has led to seven consecutive losses, the league’s longest current losing streak. The Trail Blazers will look to avoid their first eight-game losing streak since 2006. Rookie sensation Damian Lillard, who has scored double-digit points in all but four of the games that he has played this season, will hope to stop the losing skid. The Trail Blazers will also have to contain the Celtics’ outside shooters, who even without Garnett gave Boston its best road shooting percentage of the season on Friday.

Heading into Sunday, Paul Pierce has made exactly 100 three-pointers. He is now the only player to hit the century mark in made three-pointers in each of the last 13 seasons. At age 35, the Truth might not be able to get to the hoop as easily as he used to, but his shooting is still benefitting the Celtics very much. His 1,778 career three-pointers made are the franchise’s most by a large margin. In addition, he is on pace to once again crack the top 10 three-pointers made by a Celtic in a single season. Although the Celtics were successful with Pierce only taking five shots on Friday, they will need some more attempts from him in the upcoming games.

Prediction: Pierce, who is only 11 free throws made from passing Charles Barkley for 11th on the all-time list, performs well and inches closer to Barkley in the victory, giving Portland’s its eighth straight loss.

Celtics 97, Trail Blazers 92

For more Celtics coverage and pertinent statistics, follow Celtics Hub and Stats Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam

  • CelticsBIG3

    I'll be glad when these late night starts are done. Good thing for DVR so I can record Walking Dead.

  • hydrofluoric

    Nic Batum is a beast. Basically everything we wanted out of Jeff Green.

  • hydrofluoric

    LaMarcus Aldrige lighting us up. Thanks Bass!

    Wilcox coming up BIG!

    • Phil725

      I feel like Bass is responsible for every bad thing that's happened in this quarter. I know it can't be true… but I'm really struggling to find anything bad from anyone else.

      • hydrofluoric

        Terry got iso'd and killed on one possession and KG blew a layup, but overall, I mostly agree with you.

  • hydrofluoric

    Yikes, we're getting posted up and beat up.

  • CelticsBIG3

    I can see a few reasons why Washington was ok with letting Crawford go for a guy with a blown knee. His takes to the rim have been totally out of control and he's coming from a culture where guys have nothing to play for so they bitch to the refs instead of hustling back on D. I foresee both these things as easily fixable however.

  • The Cardinal

    Garnett still looks off, for a lack of better term. The reinsertion of Garnett at a time when Wilcox was playing his butt off was really a bad move – I thought that group plus Wilcox was on the verge starting a run. Right now guys are just making bad passes and missing shots, but I really expect our reserves to play better in the 2nd half spark a rally.

    • The Cardinal

      Wow – KG has just willed himself to get back in phase.

      • hydrofluoric

        Helps that Paul Pierce went insane too. 14-4-4 in 14 minutes.

        • The Cardinal

          True dat. This game is very winnable but so far vey frustrating because it just seems like every time we make a run, the ref's miss a call or make a bad call, we repeatedly leave a 3-point shooter open, we make a bad foul, or we just can't make an open shot. If we clamp down on perimeter D and get back to pushing the tempo, this game will be in the bag because eventually, shots will fall.

  • CelticsBIG3

    What a joke these calls are. Total non-contact on the call against Bass just now.

    • Anthony

      I'm convinced all NBA refs are farsighted. Any plays within 10ft of them, the wrong calls are made or missed.

      Wasn't it also obvious that Hickson knocked the ball out? Why would he try to save it if he didn't touch it? I guess the refs are farsighted and retarded.

  • The Cardinal

    Despite the fact the starters opened the 3rd to get us back on top briefly, Doc is now gonna have to do what he preaches to his team – trust his reserves to give his starters a blow and to keep pushing the pace.

    • hydrofluoric

      Brandon Bass leads our front court in minutes. Ugh.

      • hydrofluoric

        And Brandon Bass has somehow turned into Mr. Fourth Quarter?!

  • CelticsBIG3

    Well that was a lousy loss.

  • The Cardinal

    This was one of those losses where a lot of little individual things just kept piling up and we never took control of the game after the early 1st quarter. Neither the defense or offense was great, but neither was that bad. The pace was very uneven and it seems like we slowed the pace to get 3 or 4 extra minutes from KG, but I'm on the fence as to whether that hurt us more than it helped us.

    Although KG's stat line looked good, it still seemed to me like he was out of phase, and except for Pierce and Green, we just didn't get a whole lot offensively from anyone else tonight. The break in the schedule this week is gonna allow the team some needed practice time and after that, I fully expect us to be the kind of team that wins a game like this even when we aren't playing our best.

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