A lot of games in the NBA these days turn out just the way Portland’s 118-106 loss to Boston Tuesday night did.
“We look at the box score, we outscored them in the paint, outscored them in second-chance points, outscored them on the fast break, outscored them from the three-throw line and still lost by 12,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said.
The difference in the game? The same as so many other games in the league -- the three-point line.
The Celtics went 19-39 (48.7 percent) from three while the Trail Blazers were 13-31. You not only need to shoot a fairly good percentage from long range, you often need to do it in high volume.
And Boston made them from all over the floor, many of them backbreakers to stall Trail Blazer comebacks.
“They made the open ones, they made the contested ones, they made a lot of them tonight,” said CJ McCollum, who once again led his team with 28 points and 10 assists. “They are a good team. We have to be better than we played tonight against teams like the Celtics to win.
“I think that was the difference. They played better than us. They’re a deep team. They made shots, they got stops. They ran on our turnovers and they played like a playoff team.”
And with Damian Lillard out with a groin injury, the Trail Blazers do not have enough healthy NBA players right now to play like a playoff team. And until they get healthier, there is little chance of looking at all like a playoff team.
Portland shot a respectable 44.7 percent from the field and played one of its better games of late. But 17 turnovers turned into 19 Boston points and that three-point shooting was lethal.
“Boston’s a really good team,” Stotts said. “Even without Kimba (Walker) out there, their experience, they are talented offensively. “They’re well-coached, so hats off to them. Jayson Tatum got in a groove in the second half, he’s just in a heck of a rhythm with his shot.
“I liked the way our guys competed. We didn’t take advantage of some of our opportunities, but other than that, I thought we gave a good effort.”
Lillard’s availability is still in question and Stotts said he wasn’t sure if his star guard would be making the upcoming three-game road trip that starts Thursday night against the Pacers in Indianapolis.
“At this point, I’m not sure,” Stotts said. “I think we’re discussing that.”
That doesn’t make it sound as if his return is imminent.