A Friday night blowout was exactly what the Boston Celtics needed to get back on track at home from the TD Garden in Boston, MA. Just two days after losing star guard Rajon Rondo for two games due to suspension and head coach Doc Rivers called the team "soft", Boston responded in a big way, blowing out the Portland Trail Blazers, 96-78.
The Celtics controlled the game from the opening tip, starting the contest on a 9-2 run and holding Portland without a basket over the first three and a half minutes. With Paul Pierce filling in as point-forward, Boston got out in transition with Jason Terry and Courtney Lee following suit on the wings. Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge would score nine-straight for the Blazers to close the quarter, but they still trailed 25-18.
Hoping to have found their rhythm, the Blazers slumped to start the second quarter as well, leading to a larger gap and a more difficult hole to climb out of. Jeff Green would score seven-straight to push Boston's lead to 16 early in the second quarter, including an emphatic dunk that sent the TD Garden into a frenzy. With 14 points at the half from Green, Boston would hold a 56-33 lead, their largest lead of the season.
Portland didn't offer much of a resistance in the third either, settling to trade baskets versus aggressiveness on the defensive end. Boston continued controlling the paint in the third and focused on running clock as Portland would creep to a 16-point deficit heading into the fourth. With strong play from Boston's veterans though, the Celtics would keep their focus and put the game well out of reach late in the final frame.
Green had a team-high 19 points and Boston would have four players in double-digits on the night. Aldridge led the Blazers with 23 points as J.J. Hickson was the only other Portland player to notch double-digits.
Without Rondo, the Celtics notched 20 assists on the night, with Pierce dishing out a team-high five assists.
With game well out of hand, rookie Kris Joseph made his first career appearance, scoring his first point in the NBA on a free throw at the 1:33 mark in the fourth quarter.
Boston will come right back Saturday night to match up with the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night at 8:30 pm ET from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI.
|FINAL - 11.30.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Portland Trail Blazers||18||15||26||19||78|
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