Want to know the Key Moment of tonight’s Celtics game against the Trail Blazers? Turn the clock back to Wednesday night at about 10:15 p.m., when Doc Rivers spoke to the media after Boston’s blowout loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
“If I’m Brooklyn and the league, you’ve got to think we’re pretty soft the way we’re playing,” Rivers said at the time. “We’re a soft team right now; we have no toughness.”
He continued touching on the subject moments later.
“You know, Kevin (Garnett), Paul (Pierce) and (Rajon) Rondo and a couple other guys – it’s almost like they understand the jersey they’re wearing and the pride,” he said. “And everyone else – and not everyone – it’s almost like they think because they put the jersey on that they are something. You’ve got to earn it here.”
It looks like those words hit a nerve.
The Celtics were full-throttle from the opening tip Friday night, jumping out to an early 7-1 lead and building a double-digit lead in the first quarter. That lead eventually ballooned to 27 points on the back of dominant play at both ends of the court.
This win didn’t just seem like a night in which the C’s played well and the Trail Blazers played poorly. It felt like the Celtics established the tone early on and made the Trail Blazers play poorly.
Step 1 of a response to Rivers’ words has been established. Now it’s time to carry the momentum on.
Key Box Score Line
It’s tough to ignore the type of night Jeff Green strung together Friday night. Doc Rivers said before the game that he was considering Green at “100 percent” health after he sprained his right knee Wednesday night. Well, he might have actually been at 110 percent.
Green scored a team-high 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting Friday night. He logged those points in less than 23 minutes of action while also contributing three rebounds, two assists and a game-high four steals. His offensive repertoire was on full display, as he canned two of his four 3-pointers and also finished several impressive buckets at the rim.
This was the Green that Rivers and Danny Ainge envisioned coming off of Boston’s bench this season. Let’s hope he’s here to stay.
Box Score Nuggets
- Portland made just seven field goals and scored just 33 points in the first half.
- Jeff Green led the Celtics with 19 points.
- Portland shot just 34.8 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3-point range.
- Paul Pierce, Jared Sullinger and LaMarcus Aldridge tied for the game high in rebounds with eight apiece.
- Boston scored at least 25 points in each of the first two quarters but didn't score more than 21 in either of the final two quarters.
- Courtney Lee, starting in place of the suspended Rajon Rondo, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
- Green grabbed a game-high four steals.
- Aldridge scored a game-high 23 points. He made eight of Portland's 24 field goals.
- Pierce and Lee tied for the game high in assists with five apiece.
- Boston shot 18-of-20 from the free-throw line.
- The Celtics led from start to finish, pulling ahead by as many as 27 points.
- Five Celtics finished with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-11, led by Kevin Garnett's plus-21.
Quote of the Night
He wanted us to move the ball and make the extra passes and I thought we did a good job of that most of the night. Paul Pierce on Boston's play