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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blazers vs. Celtics - Hot Live Blog Action

Posted by Rob Simonsen on Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 6:53 PM

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Live from the Moda Center as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Boston Celtics.

Hey look, there’s Doc Rivers! Wait, nope, he’s gone. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett? Gone and gone. Rajon Rondo? He’s here, but recovering from a torn ACL. I guess that leaves, uh, Jeff Green? Yeah, Jeff Green! Go Celtics!

Looking up and down this Boston roster is terrifying. It’s replacement-level talent, a horrorshow of castoffs, misfits, and spare parts. Kris Humphries is their highest paid player. Even with the recent addition of semi-competent Jerryd Bayless—hey, remember him?—this squad still resembles a D-League team as opposed to one that belongs in the NBA. That they have won thirteen games is a testament to just how well first year coach Brad Stevens is doing.

I mean, Jordan Crawford (!!!) is arguably Boston’s best active player. If the Blazers don’t win by forty tonight it will be a disappointment.

PRE-GAME:
The Celtics have only won once in their last eleven games, free falling to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. That is exactly where they want to be, contending for a number one pick in the upcoming draft. Boston fans, take solace in ESPN’s NBA Lottery Mock Draft.

The Blazers haven’t played since Wednesday, a nice long stretch of time off to rest up and get ready for a rough slate of games coming up next week including the Texas three-step. Not tonight, though. Tonight is going to be a lot of CJ McCollum, Thomas Robinson, and Allen Crabbe.

Of course, now that I've called this a blowout, handsome Brad Stevens is going to come out and coach the game of his life. Stupid sexy Stevens.

Paul Allen's other team, the Seahawks, won earlier today and are now are headed to the NFC Championship game. Congratulations, Seattle. At first I thought all the green in the Arena was Seahawks solidarity, but it turns there are a lot of Celtics fans in Portland. They realize their team is terrible now, right?

FIRST QUARTER:
11:41 - Jeff Green scores first after the Blazers unsuccessfully try and front him in the post. If the Blazers lose this game, I'm going to blame Brad Stevens for distracting them with his handsomeness. He is a good looking man. 2-0 Celtics.

9:03 - Damian Lillard just air balled a three-point attempt. I don't think I have ever seen that before. 8-4 Celtics.

7:50 - Jordan Crawford just scored and I think everyone is a bit in shock. Blazers need time, presumably to get smelling salts for the team. 12-6 Celtics.

5:54 - Lillard is going to make fifteen threes tonight to make up for that air ball. There was number one. 14-13 Celtics.

4:10 - Kris Humphries and Jordan Crawford are scoring points and I want to leave this bizarro world now. Damn, if only I hadn't chosen "Larry Bird" as my safe word. 24-18 Celtics.

2:41 - CJ McCollum checks in, CJ McCollum immediately hits a three. Money. 26-21 Celtics.

1:19 - The Celtics are shooting 74% from the field. Avery Bradley has thirteen points. So much for that blowout. If anyone needs me, I'll be under press row rocking and silently crying to myself. 32-22 Celtics.

0:29 - Hey, another three for CJ! He's finding his legs here in game number two. 32-27 Celtics.

0:00 - Well, at least the Celtics can't shoot 70% for the whole game. I think. 32-27 Celtics.

SECOND QUARTER:
10:45 - Bad defense, meet badder defense. You guys are going to get along just fine. 35-32 Celtics.

9:50 - Hey, CJ! Career high eight points! I mean, it's only been a game and a quarter, but still! 35-34 Celtics.

8:49 - Remember when Kelly Olynyk was great in summer league and Celtics fans were excited that he'd do really well this year? Ha. Jerryd Bayless' receding hairline has more staying power than Olynyk. 39-34 Celtics.

7:05 - Hey, Mo. Let's not try and throw no look behind the head passes anymore, okay? That last one was terrible, and was easily picked off for a fast break layup. Yep, the Celtics are still shooting 73% from the floor. 45-38 Celtics.

5:36 - Mo backs up an awful turnover where he dribbled the ball out of bounds with a made three-pointer. At least his shot is falling? 49-41 Celtics.

4:15 - Hey, a Celtics miss! It has only been eight minutes since the last one. Their shooting percentage has fallen all the way to 76%. 51-45 Celtics.

3:27 - Gerald Wallace is in this game. I mean, I think it's Gerald Wallace. It looks like Gerald Wallace, but that's where the comparisons stop. Dude is a shell of his former cheer-inducing self. So sad. 51-45 Celtics.

2:11- Wait, Jared Sullinger has range?! Really? He just hit a three, something I didn't think was physically possible. 54-50 Celtics.

0:06 - Two straight trips right to the rim for Lillard. He seems to be making it a point to get penetration as opposed to settling for the three. Maybe he was spooked by that air ball? Either that, or he sees Kris Humphries on the court and knows the rim is his. 60-58 Celtics.

0:00 - On the plus side, Portland's offense was great. On the negative side, Portland's defense was the opposite of great. The Celtics, the team with the seventh-worst offense in the league, put up sixty points on 62% shooting from the field. 60-58 Celtics.

THIRD QUARTER:
11:05 - Jordan Crawford hit a jumper, giving him ten points on the night. He ran down the court screaming, shaking his head—shaky-face style—as if he couldn't believe he was that good. Don't ever change, Crawford. 64-62 Celtics.

9:06 - Spotted: man in Celtics jersey, with an additional Tom Brady jersey draped over his shoulder like a towel. Don't ever change, Boston sports fans. 68-64 Celtics.

7:34 - Don't look now but the Blazers have the lead. It only took two and a half quarters to finally get it. 69-68 Blazers.

6:36 - Batum just air balled a jumper by about a foot. I'm going to go ahead and proclaim tonight the first night that both Batum and Lillard have fired up air balls on the same night—there is no statistical way this could have happened before. The defense is finally doing its job, though, and the Celtics are down to 55% shooting on the night. 73-68 Blazers.

5:35 - Terry Stotts must have yelled at the team at half again, because this is a different squad on the court this quarter. Here comes that blowout. 77-68 Blazers.

4:30 - Too soon for a triple-double watch? Batum as eight points, seven assists, and six rebounds. If you count coy smiles as a stat he's damn near a quadruple-double. 79-72 Blazers.

3:32 - Jared Sullinger with another three. I don't know when he decided he could step back that far, but it's been an effective shot tonight. That must be the Brad Stevens magic working. 81-75 Blazers.

2:10 - Aldridge checks out with a double-double to his name: he's got seventeen points and ten boards here already. He also has four assists, the last coming on a Sabonis-like no look one-handed pass. More Sabonis is always a good thing. 85-78 Blazers.

0:00 - After two misses near the end of the quarter, Jared Sullinger managed to tip it in right as the buzzer was sounding. They are reviewing the basket now, but that was good. I could be wrong, but I think that was the first second chance field goal for the Celtics this game. 90-86 Blazers.

FOURTH QUARTER:
11:29 - Kelly Olynyk just picked up a, "Hey, we know you're bad, here's a bailout call" foul. His best offense is a sympathetic ref. 90-87 Blazers.

10:48 - Every time Joel Freeland hits that baseline jumper I'm surprised. I know he can hit it. He does it often. It just feels...off. 94-89 Blazers.

9:00 - And here comes Aldridge to put this one away. Olynyk and Sullinger don't stand a chance. LaMarcus is doing a great job of getting the ball closer to the rim instead of staying out near twenty feet. 96-89 Blazers.

7:19 - Mo Williams with two great plays in a row, including what looked like an alley-oop to LaMarcus off the backboard. I couldn't quite tell if it hit glass from this angle, but if so, that impressive. Good play nonetheless. 101-91 Blazers.

6:19 - Batum didn't hit it, but he just pulled out a Dream Shake in the lane that left this crowd crowing. What, was he watching Rondo highlights before the game or something? I thought this game was close a minute ago, but the Blazers have broken it open. Just like Brad Stevens broke open my heart. 104-91 Blazers.

4:06 - That foul call on Sullinger came so late that nobody could quite figure out what happened. I guess Lillard got hacked? They are giving him two free throws, so that must be the case, but I'm still confused as the foul came a good five seconds before the whistle blew. 106-93 Blazers.

3:10 - Crawford for three. With his team down ten late in the game, he left his shaky-face antics all the way back in the third quarter. 108-98 Blazers.

2:21 - Unconventional four-point play there for the Celtics: Basket plus the foul, missed free throw, offensive rebound, basket. 108-102 Blazers.

1:11 - The Blazers gave up three or four offensive rebounds on one possession, but the Celtics couldn't covert. They dodged a bullet with that one. Lopez was fouled on the other end as he battled for rebounding position after a Batum three rattled out, and he calmly knocked down both freebies. 110-102 Blazers.

0:56 - The Blazers set a season high tonight for offensive rebounds, but they are getting killed on the defensive glass here late. The Celtics just kept another possession alive with two of their own offensive rebounds, and the result was two free throws for Jeff Green. 110-104 Blazers.

0:21 - The Celtics had a slim chance down only six late, but Jordan Crawford's shot was off, Matthews grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Two free throws for Wesley and that will do it. 112-104 Blazers.

FINAL: 112-104 Blazers. Despite a poor defensive showing in the first half, the Blazers were able to out-gun the Celtics en route to another victory. It should have been a larger deficit, but a win is a win. Next game is at home against Cleveland on Wednesday.

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