The Boston Celtics visited the Rose Garden Sunday night to take on the Portland Trail Blazers—a team they hadn’t lost to since Dec. 30, 2008. Unfortunately for the road team, the winning streak meant nothing, as they fell 92-86.
Portland entered this game as the not-so-proud owners of the league’s longest losing streak. Part of the reason for the seven-game skid has been a lack of energy and production early, so the Celtics took advantage and jumped out to a quick 9-2 start.
Unfortunately for Boston, the energy of the Blazers made it difficult to keep that momentum going, and it was on the wrong side of an 18-6 run to close out the opening period.
The second quarter began similarly to how the first ended—in Portland’s favor. The Celtics began just 2-of-14 from the field, and while they eventually found the touch, their 37.8 percent shooting in the first half was only good enough to get them within seven by halftime.
The second half was a more evenly played battle, as Boston got out to an efficient start. Five quick points by Paul Pierce brought the team back within one, but more important than the Celtics’ shooting was their swarming defense.
The problem for the Celtics was that even when their defense was in the right place, the Trail Blazers showed that they're capable of hitting difficult shots. Portland won both the rebounding and three-point battles in this one, and both categories proved to be big difference-makers when it was all said and done.