Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers (-7.5, 202 o/u)
For the better part of the season, the Portland Trail Blazers (31-12, 19-4 home) and their top-ten defense have been dominant at home and on the road; however, the team is going through a rough patch at the moment, losing four of five and giving up 100 or more points in each loss.
In the absence of star forward Lamarcus Aldridge (bruised hand), who leads the squad with 23.2 PPG with 10.2 RPG, the Trail Blazers lost 118-113 at Phoenix on Wednesday. Head coach Terry Stotts doesn’t know when the former second-overall pick will be back.
“I’m not commenting on anything other than he has an MRI [Thursday],” Stotts said.
In the loss to Phoenix, Portland gave up 51.1% shooting and saw a five-point lead vanish with less than 2:30 left in the game.
“I don’t think we should be satisfied with a moral victory,” said Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. “We didn’t deserve to win the game because of how it went. You want to win, you expect to win but not enough things went right.”
The good news for Portland is the rebuilding Boston Celtics (13-26, 4-13 away) are visiting tonight. Since trading Rajon Rondo, the Celtics scoring has gone way down (from 104.5 PPG all the way to 98.6).
Boston trailed by as many as 23 points in its last game, a 102-93 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers. That game started a six-game Western Conference swing for the Celtics, which coach Brad Stevens knows will be tough for his young team.
“We’re going to change time zones a couple of times,” Stevens said. “We’re going to play against good teams. We’re going to play against high-energy teams. We’re going to have to make sure that we can do everything that we can to have the right amount of legs for that whole trip.”
As much as the Celtics and the points (+7.5) are appealing, think about the over (202) in this game.
(Photo credit: nikk_la (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)