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Coming off the worst loss in the “Big Three” era, the Celtics delivered a beat down of their own, dominating the Portland Trail Blazers 104-86 Friday night at the TD Garden.
Boston jumped out to a 27-17 lead after the first quarter behind a balanced offensive attack. Led by Rajon Rondo (8), all five Celtics starters had at least four points in the first 12 minutes.
The Blazers fell behind despite a hot start from LaMarcus Aldridge, who went 4-6 for eight points out of the gate. Turnovers were their downfall, as the Celtics converted 11 points off nine Portland mistakes.
The C’s then stretched their lead to 43-17 following a 16-0 run to open the second quarter. The Boston defense forced four turnovers and held the Blazers to 0-5 shooting during the run. The Celtics shot 64 percent in the second quarter, knocking down four three-pointers.
With the lead reaching as high as 37, the Celtics went into halftime with a 65-30 lead. The Blazers shot a horrid 36 percent at the half with 16 turnovers. The game was seemingly over.
With Boston’s reserves playing much of the second half, including all of the fourth quarter, the Blazers made the scoreboard look less lopsided than the game actually was.
Ray Allen and Paul Pierce each finished with a team-high 22 points. Kevin Garnett (10), Avery Bradley (12), and Sasha Pavlovic (10) rounded out the group of Celtics in double digits.
Boston played efficient basketball and hard defense, giving up only seven turnovers compared to Portland’s 28. The Celtics also snatched 14 steals on the night.
The C’s will now travel to the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The Lakers took the first meeting of the season by one in overtime back on February 9.