If the Boston Celtics are to bounce back from a disappointing loss at Sacramento on Wednesday night, they’re going to have to do it in come-from-behind fashion as the Portland Trail Blazers asserted control of Thursday’s game and went into the half leading 55-49.
The Blazers seemed well on their way to burying the Celtics early, only for the Celtics to close out the half with a 13-2 run fueled by hustle plays at both ends of the floor and capped off by a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas for the final points of the half.
Following a Portland time-out with 17.5 seconds to play, the Blazers turned the ball over but Boston was unable to get a shot off before time expired.
Coming into the game, the Celtics knew they were going to have their hands full with the Blazers backcourt of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard which is one of the top-3 guard tandems in the NBA.
Not surprisingly, each took turns putting their imprint on the game with a dizzying array of step-back jumpers, 3-pointers and ankle-breaking crossover dribbles.
And when the Portland guards weren’t hurting the Celtics, their bigs were cleaning up the misses with the Blazers spending most of the first half holding on to a double-digit lead.
But the last-minute spurt by the Celtics made the game competitive at the half, providing hope for a Celtics team that spent most of the half playing catch-up.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s game.
The Celtics had problems getting through screens in the first half set for Lillard who had 15 pts at the half.
After a really slow and rocky start, Thomas heated up in the second quarter to bring Boston within six points. At the half, he led all scorers with 16 points.
He’s often viewed as Damian Lillard’s sidekick, but he continues to show he’s a scoring force in his own right. At the half, he scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting.
His energy and activity around the rim set the tone for Thursday’s game. At the half he had seven points, six rebounds and four assists.
He has had some of his best games against the Celtics, and Thursday was no exception. At the half, he had 13 points.
Filling in for Jae Crowder (family reasons), Smart had a solid first half with seven points, three rebounds and three steals.
Boston’s three-point shooting
Not having Jae Crowder was certainly a factor in Boston’s struggles from deep. They connected on just 4-of-15 3’s with a number of them being open to lightly contested.