Three-Game Homestand Ends With Loss To Celtics

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- Playing in their third game without Damian Lillard (right groin strain), the Trail Blazers fell 118-106 to the Boston Celtics in front of a sellout crowd of 19,460 Tuesday night at the Moda Center.

"Boston’s a really good team," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Sometimes we look at the box score, we outscored them in the paint, outscored them in second-chance points, outscored them from fast break, outscored them from the free throw line, and still lost by 12. I liked the way our guys competed, we didn’t take advantage of some of our opportunities, but other than that I thought we gave a good effort.”

The Trail Blazers are now 26-33 overall and 16-13 at home this season. With the loss, the Trail Blazers trail the Memphis Grizzlies by three games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 23 games to play.

In a battle between two teams who get almost the entirety of their scoring from their starters, the Celtics got more production from their five five than the Trail Blazers to come away with the victory. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 60 points, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward and each added 12 points and Daniel Theis fell just short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.

And while Portland's starters, or at least those who have filled in due to injuries, comported themselves admirably -- CJ McCollum turned in his third straight game with at least 10 assists, Hassan Whiteside came close to another 20/20 game and Trevor Ariza missed just one of his shots from the field, three and the free throw line -- they couldn't match Boston's production.

Though they had a few opportunities. In the first half, Portland went on an 11-3 run to cut a 10-point deficit down to three late in the second quarter. But the Celtics, as they would do all night, answered with a mini-run of their own, scoring seven in a row to push the lead back to double digits.

“We didn’t get stops," said McCollum. "They went on a couple runs and we weren’t able to sustain a high enough level of play to win."

After Boston took an eight-point advantage into the intermission, CJ McCollum opened the second half with a three-pointer that cut the lead to 56-51.

But Portland would never come any closer than that. Boston took a 10-point lead off a Tatum layup with 5:25 to play in the third and went up by as many as 19 in the fourth before coasting to a 12-point victory.

“We have to be better than we played tonight against teams like the Celtics to win," said McCollum. "I think that was the difference. They played better than us. They’re a deep team. They made shots, they got stops, they ran on our turnovers and they played like a playoff team."

TOP PERFORMERS

CJ McCollum finished with 28 points, four rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks in 38 minutes. With the performance, he joins Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Trae Young and LeBron James as the only players who score at least 25 points and hand out at least 10 assists in three straight games this season.

Hassan Whiteside went 8-of-12 from the field for 18 points to go with 19 rebounds, three assists and a block in 36 minutes. Trevor Ariza went 5-of-6 from the field, 2-of-2 from three and 5-of-5 from the free throw line for 17 points while also tallying eight rebounds, two assists and two steals in 37 minutes.

Carmelo Anthony added 14 points to round out Portland's double-digit scorers.

Boston's Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the field and 8-of-12 shooting from three. Jaylen Brown went for 124 points, seven rebounds and two assists.

NOTABLE

• Boston was 19-of-39 (48.7%) from 3-PT range, while Portland shot 13-of-31 (41.9%)from deep. The Celtics’ 19 made three-pointers were a season-high, while Portland shot over 40% from long range for the second straight game.

• The Trail Blazers dished out 24 assists to Boston’s 19. It was Portland’s sixth straight game recording at least 20 assists.

• Portland outscored Boston 42-38 in the paint, and 26-23 in transition.

• The Celtics outrebounded the Trail Blazers 45-41, with both teams recording eight offensive rebounds.

• Portland made 17 free-throws to Boston’s 13.

QUOTABLE

“It’s our reality so we’ve got to figure out how to get as many wins as possible starting in Indiana and progressing forward." -- CJ McCollum on the upcoming three-game trip

HIGHLIGHTS

NEXT UP

With a three-game homestand now completed, the Trail Blazers hit the road for three straight games, all versus teams from the Eastern Conference. First stop: Indianapolis, where the Trail Blazers will face the Pacers in a nationally televised game Thursday night on TNT. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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