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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tales from the Crypt, starring the Boston Celtics

Remember when we had buried the Boston Celtics before the All-Star break? They weren't going anywhere and they had to trade Ray Allen. It's funny how much of a difference three games make since the Celts have won three straight coming out of the break, including an impressive 96-76 victory last night in Portland.

It was one of Boston's (35-18) best defensive performances of the season. Kendrick Perkins (7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks in 25 minutes) and Kevin Garnett (16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks in 22 minutes) seem re energized the last two games, particularly on the defensive end where they're much more active and mobile.

The other theme of the last two nights has been the comeback of Ray Allen. He had a game-high 21 points and five assists last night and shot 9 of 14 from the floor.

Rajon Rondo added 10 points, 11 assists and three steals while Glen Davis scored 10 off the bench.

For a team desperately clinging onto the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Blazers (32-25) were just lifeless.

Injured star Brandon Roy surprisingly played but he was held to nine points. Andre Miller led Portland with 16 points and LaMarcus Aldridge notched 15 points.

Boston led 32-25 after the first quarter and 56-38 at the half. Portland (23-17) made a slight run in the third quarter but even with the bench in for most of the fourth, the C's (23-15) not only held on but increased the lead.

The Celtics shot 53.4% for the game and Portland shot a pathetic 33.8%. Portland had 18 more made free throws (30-12) but Boston had an incredible 20 assist advantage (27-7). The C's also took advantage inside with 44 points in the paint.

The West Coast trip concludes tomorrow afternoon in Denver, against the high-scoring, thugtastic Nuggets. 4-0 would be pretty sweet for the Celtics but this is going to be a really tough one to get.

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