Notebook: Celtics 96, Trail Blazers 78



Posted Nov 30, 2012 11:11 PM

By Brian Robb, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Jeff Green had a season-high 19 points off the bench, as the Boston Celtics cruised to a 96-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Jason Terry added 17 points for the hosts who played without Rajon Rondo, as he sat out the first game of a two-game suspension. With their star point guard out of the lineup, Boston stepped up their defensive intensity, limiting Portland to just 33 first half points as they surged a 23-point halftime lead. LaMarcus Aldridge had a game-high 23 points for the Blazers, who have now dropped the first four games on their seven-game road trip.

QUOTABLE: "We wanted to come out and just focus on the defensive end to make sure we got stops. We didn't give up any easy buckets and so I think we started off and threw the first punch." -- Courtney Lee.

THE STAT: Portland shot a mere 14.2 percent (2-of-14) in the second quarter. Outside of Aldridge, the Blazers shot a dismal 0-for-12 from the field during the frame.

TURNING POINT: Green provided a spark for the second unit in the opening moments of the second quarter, scoring seven of the first nine points in the quarter during a 9-0 run. The outburst enabled Boston to open up a double-digit lead, which they never relinquished.

QUOTABLE II: "Boston came out really aggressive. Doc [Rivers] called them a soft team [after Wednesday's game] and they came out aggressive. They had us on our heels for the first two quarters and it took us awhile to regroup." -- Portland coach Terry Stotts.

HOT: Terry -- The crafty veteran scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting, which helped push the Boston lead to as many as 25 points before intermission.

NOT: Damian Lillard -- The rookie's offensive struggles have coincided with Portland's four-game losing streak on the road trip. Lillard finished with just eight points Friday, 11 below his season average and has shot just 27 percent from the field (16-of-59) over his last four games.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Courtney Lee -- The shooting guard had been off to a slow start this season for his new team, but excelled while filling in for Rondo in the starting five Friday night. Lee stuffed the box score across multiple categories, as the fifth-year guard finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals in a game-high 37 minutes.

GOOD MOVE: Rivers adjusted his team's pick-and-roll defense, trapping the ball-handler during pick-and-rolls. The move paid off, as Portland could not get anything going offensively in the first half, turning the ball over 10 times over the first 24 minutes.

ROOKIE WATCH: Jared Sullinger -- The former Ohio State star stood out for his work on the defensive glass, tying a team-high with eight rebounds to go along with nine points over a career-high 31 minutes.

QUOTABLE III: "I don't know any man that likes to be called soft." -- Kevin Garnett on the Celtics responding to Rivers calling Boston "soft" after Wednesday's loss vs. Brooklyn.

NOTABLE: Jason Collins appeared for the first time this season against a team other than the Brooklyn Nets...Garnett moved into 18th place all-time for NBA games played with 1,271...Nolan Smith played five minutes for Portland despite sitting out the past two games...The Blazers are now 0-4 on their seven-game road trip. Kris Joseph was recalled from the Maine Red Claws before the game and scored two points in five minutes of action...Portland had a season-low 12 assists...The Celtics never trailed in the contest.

UP NEXT: For Portland, Saturday @ Cleveland, Monday @ Charlotte, Wednesday @ Indiana. For Boston, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Wednesday vs. Minnesota, Friday @ Philadelphia