Trail Blazers Start Bad, Finish Bad In Loss To Celtics

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- After dropping their season opener at Moda Center, the Portland Trail Blazers went the next 43 days without losing at home. They’ve now lost on their home court twice in roughly 72 hours.

The Trail Blazers followed up a loss to the Spurs on Thursday by losing 145-117 to the Boston Celtics in front of a crowd of 16,143 Saturday night at Moda Center.

“Obviously teams play well, you come out, it’s not your night, it’s cool, it happens,” said Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups. “But there’s a way that I’m willing to lose, and that’s not the way that I’m willing to lose. It was embarrassing.”

Portland is now 11-13 overall and 10-3 at home this season. They have now lost two-straight games at home for the first time this season and have lost five of their last six games overall.

While the Trail Blazers, once again playing without Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy), Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) and Anfernee Simons (right ankle sprain), were more competitive Saturday night versus the Celtics than they were a few nights before versus the Spurs, the end result was actually worse.

After going down by as many as 21 points in the first quarter, the Blazers went on a 19-3 run to cut the Celtics’ lead to 50-48 with 3:24 to play in the first half. For the first time in a few games, the Trail Blazers were showing signs of life.

But that life ended up being short. The Celtics would outscore the Blazers by 13 in the third to take a 103-94 lead into the fourth. That lead swelled to 25 early in the fourth, and even after the game was effectively over, the end of Boston’s bench continued to score at will, adding insult to an injurious performance by the Blazers.

“You’ve got to give (Boston) a lot of credit, they came out, dug deep on a back-to-back, getting in really late,” said Billups. “Scored 130 points on the road last night, I thought that was an unbelievable, astronomical number and they come put 145 on us. That was shocking. You’re going to have some of those type of nights, in all honestly, but you’ve still got to show some pride.”

CJ McCollum, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury and would not return, led Portland with 24 points on 21 shots, six assists and a rebound in 34 minutes. Dennis Smith Jr. went 7-of-14 from the field for 21 points to go with six assists and four rebounds in 36 minutes.

Jusuf Nurkic went 6-of-9 for 18 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Cody Zeller was the only other Blazer to get to double digits in scoring with 10 points to go with eight rebounds.

Six Celtics finished in double figures with both Jayson Tatum and Dennis Schroder putting up 31 points.

Next up, the Trail Blazers finish up a four-game homestand by hosting the LA Clippers Monday night at Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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