Rapid Reaction: Blazers 109, Celtics 96
BOSTON -- Rapid reaction after the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Boston Celtics 109-96 on Friday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
The Portland offense was as good as advertised, as LaMarcus Aldridge led five Blazers in double figures with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Nicolas Batum and Mo Williams added 18 points apiece, while Damian Lillard had 17 points and four assists. The Blazers shot 48.8 percent from the field and made nine 3-pointers (even if Boston kept them to a manageable 34.6 percent beyond the arc). For Boston, Jared Sullinger returned after missing Wednesday's game with a bone bruise on his right knee and scored a career-high 26 points (his previous high was 16) while grabbing eight rebounds over 36 minutes. Jeff Green added 14 points but was a minus-15 overall as Boston's first unit had a rather atrocious outing.
In a one-possession game with under five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Trail Blazers closed out the quarter on a 17-8 run. Aldridge and Batum combined to score 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the frame, keying Portland's offense as it pushed its lead to double digits and led 90-78 heading to the fourth quarter. Both teams were 12-of-23 shooting in the third, but Portland hit a trio of 3s and got to the free throw line often while putting up 33 points. Sullinger tried to single-handedly will the Celtics back into the game in the final frame but couldn't do it on his own.
GOOD PRESSEY, BAD PRESSEY
Phil Pressey showed us both ends of his spectrum, giving Boston's second unit a jolt to start the second quarter before fading. Boston went from down two when Pressey checked in to up eight in a little more than three minutes (with Pressey handing out a couple of assists and hitting a 3-pointer in that span). But the Blazers rallied back and Pressey had two cringe-worthy turnovers, helping Portland pull ahead before he was removed from the game. He finished with six points on 2-of-4 shooting with three assists, two rebounds and those two turnovers over 11:53.
MarShon Brooks ended a six-game DNP streak by making only his second appearance of the season. He played the final three minutes with Portland ahead by double digits and did not score (missing the only shot he took). ... His former Nets teammates Keith Bogans and Kris Humphries were healthy DNPs.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have now lost two in a row to fall to 4-6 with the degree of difficulty in their schedule only set to ramp up on the road. The Celtics play the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday evening in Minnesota. That's the start of a three-game road trip that closes with a Texas back-to-back in Houston and San Antonio next week.
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