Ford Keys to the Game: Trail Blazers at Celtics
Trail Blazers 95, Celtics 98
Ray Allen may have been the most unproductive Celtic to take the floor for tonight's game, but that was only for the first 52 minutes of this overtime thriller. As shooters usually do, Allen stuck with his shot despite being dreadful from the field and even missing three free throws. And, per usual, it paid off.
Boston went to overtime against the depleted Trail Blazers and had to do so without their captain, Paul Pierce, who had fouled out toward the end of regulation. That meant players like Allen needed to step up to replace Pierce's hot hand (he had scored 24 points in regulation).
Allen tried to do just that, but his first 4:19 of overtime went like this: missed 17-foot jumper; missed technical free throw (defensive three seconds); missed 25-foot 3-pointer. He was 0-for-2 from the field and missed a free throw, making the crowd groan in anticipation of the possibility of yet another loss.
But with the Celtics down by two and 41 seconds remaining on the clock, Allen wasn't shy about firing up another 3-pointer, and this time it went in. His three put the C's up by one, electrified the crowd and gave Boston some much-needed energy. Then he made another huge play just 24 seconds later. LaMarcus Aldridge missed a jumper from the foul line and the rebound was tipped into the backcourt. Tony Allen chased it down the sideline, but a diving Aldridge managed to get a hand on it and save it back into play towards the Blazers' basket. Ray Allen popped up to grab the loose ball and immediately looked up court to find Tony Allen streaking towards the basket. Ray hit him with a pinpoint pass and Tony took it in for the slam, putting Boston ahead by three with only 17 seconds remaining in the game.
Portland failed to get off a quality shot to tie the game on their final possession, and the Celtics escaped with the victory in overtime. Allen noted after the game how frustrating his poor shooting night was, but making those two key plays down the stretch had to make the previous 52 minutes of play disappear from his memory bank.
Key Box Score Line
In his first game back from injury, Kevin Garnett was more assertive offensively than many anticipated -- at least in the first half. He is clearly not in the shape he would like to be at this point of the season, but he had a very solid night in his first game back, specifically in the first 24 minutes. He was efficient offensively and active defensively, giving the C's the exact lift they've been looking for to snap out of their recent funk.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce scored a team-high 24 points for Boston.
- Andre Miller scored a game- and season-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.
- Rajon Rondo yet again pushed triple-double territory, finishing with 19 points, six boards and nine assists.
- Boston's bench had one of its best games of the season, totaling 29 points and a positive +/- for all four reserves.
- Portland grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in the game to Boston's six.
- The teams combined to shoot 11-of-45 from 3-point range.
- Kendrick Perkins scored only four points, but did pull in 11 boards.
- Juwan Howard recorded a game-high 12 rebounds.
- Boston outscored Portland 56-32 in the paint and 25-10 on the fast break.
- The Celtics recorded seven blocked shots to Portland's one.
- Five separate Celtics were whistled for at least four fouls.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Ray Allen making the go-ahead 3-pointer: "The funniest comment of the day was the third play: Rondo turns to me and says, 'You know Ray's going to be wide open on this.' And I’m like, 'Yeah, yeah that was the idea.' You know, Ray's a shooter and you’ve just got to keep shooting. And thank gosh he made one."