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Just Better: Boston Falls to Portland 109-96

In a lot of NBA games, there’s a moment — one particular play in which the winning team hits a big 3-pointer to go up by double digits, or a block in transition that turns into a fast break dunk. That moment defines the game and seems to win the game well before the final buzzer sounds.

There really wasn’t a “moment” in tonight’s game against Portland. The Blazers didn’t really do any one thing spectacularly. They didn’t have an overpowering star (LaMarcus Aldridge played well, but he didn’t destroy worlds). They simply had too much offense, and the combination of inside and outside scoring doomed Boston.

This game probably isn’t a bad reminder that Boston is going to lose a lot of games like this in 2013-14: Games against teams who aren’t necessarily spectacular, but who are just simply better. Full grades after the jump. 

Portland Trail Blazers 109 Final
Recap | Box Score
96 Boston Celtics
Brandon Bass, PF 29 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -22

Bass had a quiet night matched up against himself only much better in LaMarcus Aldridge. His mediocre performance will only fan the flames of people calling for Sully to take his place in the starting lineup.
Kelly Olynyk, C 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -5
With the exception of one nice pass to Sullinger (which Sully botched around the rim), I have no recollection of Olynyk being on the court.
Avery Bradley, PG 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -18
Five field goal attempts doesn’t feel like much, but there just wasn’t much of a place for Bradley in Boston’s offense tonight. When the offense was rolling, it was mostly the second unit doing the driving.
Jeff Green, SG 31 MIN | 4-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -15
Green was aggressive early, attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. That didn’t last. However, it’s always hard for me to blame Green for his lack of aggression as the game wears on — when he draws fouls, he often goes down hard. Meanwhile, I’m debating whether or not to plug in my computer because my couch is so comfy. So I’m not sure I’m allowed to pass judgment.
Jordan Crawford, SG 34 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 11 PTS | -8
Night in and night out, Crawford leads the team in assists, but shooting 4-for-12 from the field isn’t a great look.
Jared Sullinger, PF 36 MIN | 11-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 26 PTS | 0
Sullinger talked to reporters about his back yesterday, marveling at how no one was talking about his offseason surgery. He’s right, of course, but performances like tonight are liable to make us forget. Sully started near the basket and worked his way outside as the game progressed, giving us a glimpse into how useful he might be if he can knock down 3-pointers consistently.
Vitor Faverani, C 15 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +1
Faverani had one beautiful running hook and one 3-pointer that evoked an excellent “Seriously? Him?” reaction from Portland fans on Twitter. I’m not sure why he didn’t guard LaMarcus Aldridge more, but Brad Stevens is one bajillion times smarter than me (example 1A: my use of the word “bajillion”) so we’ll let it slide THIS time.
Phil Pressey, PG 12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -3
Pressey came in and pushed the ball well in transition (good) before committing a couple of legitimately terrible turnovers (bad). His defense wasn’t good, but it was encouraging to see him knock down a couple of 3-pointers — his offensive game becomes much more effective when he is able to add that to his arsenal.
Courtney Lee, SG 17 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +2
The Courtney Lee “I May or May Not Be Trying Out For A Contender” show is still very much in progress, so please keep your cell phones turned off.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • NZNICK33

    It's hard to be aggressive when you never get the ball. I think in this equal opportunity offense, there will be nights where Green doesn't get the ball much or he is just asked to stand in the corner.
    Crawford may be facilitating more than he normally does, but he's still gonna take a lot more shots than Rondo.

  • cos

    what about Gerald Wallace?

    I didn't watch the game and I have no hope in him and wish his contract was 2 years shorter to trade him, but he did get 26 minutes. I hate to judge based on a box score so whats the grade on him based on the eye test?

  • hax

    Come on, Crawfish, lead us to another win!