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The Celtics were pretty pitiful in Friday night’s loss to the Suns, amassing only 77 points and getting out-rebounded by more than 20 boards. They were that much worse in the first quarter against the Blazers, playing perhaps their worst basketball this season. Everything turned around after that however, and the Celtics won a tough road game against the Blazers 112-102 to improve to 1-3 on this 5-game West Coast swing.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 30 points on 12-14 shooting. He was hot all night and really dug the Celtics out of a gigantic hole in the second quarter, when they were down by as much as 17 points. Pierce hit some key threes to cut into the defecit, and continued his hot shooting after the half in the 10-point win.
Overall, the Celtics were 14-21 (66.7%) from 3-pt land. They hit all the 3-pt shots from just 4 players. Pierce and Ray Allen both went 4-5 from distance, and Eddie House and James Posey each went 3-5. Posey finished with 15 points off the bench, including many dagger-shots down the stretch to help seal the deal.
This game truly exemplified the defining characteristics of both teams. The Blazers are stacked with young, energetic talent. Their youth raced to a 17-point lead early on over the veteran Celtics. The C’s slowly chipped away and in the end won by a double-digit score. How did they make that turnaround? Their veteran leadership (found in so many players) pulled through.
The win was even more important considering the earthquake in Phoenix. Didn’t feel the tremors? I’m surprised, because the Pistons went into Phoenix and shocked the Suns in a 30-point blowout, sending shockwaves throughout the NBA. A loss for the Celtics would’ve symbolically meant a changing of the guard in the East, and the C’s would have none of that.
Next up is a game Monday night to end the road trip against the Los Angeles Clippers. Hopefully the C’s can salvage the road trip at 2-3 before they had back home Wednesday to face the new-look Cavs. Stay tuned!