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Friday, January 28, 2011

Do they still call traveling in the NBA?

On the surface, with Trailblazers star Brandon Roy out following double knee surgery (yikes) and a 10:30 p.m. start on a Thursday night, there weren't many reasons to watch the Boston Celtics begin their four-game West Coast trip last night in Portland.

However judging by Twitter, I know I wasn't the only one interested since former Celtic and ESPN announcer Bill Walton took over for Tommy Heinsohn the next few games. I was never a huge Walton fan when he was on all the time for ESPN but like a crazy relative or ex-girlfriend, he is great in small doses.

It definitely added some spice to an otherwise pedestrian 88-78 Celtics (35-10) win at the Rose Garden.

Ray Allen led Boston with 18 points, Paul Pierce had 17 points (before leaving late with a knee bruise), Rajon Rondo scored 11 points with six rebounds and five assists while Kevin Garnett was the story with 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Kendrick Perkins also looked really good in only his second game back with 10 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes.

Without Roy, Portland (25-22) is simply overmatched in the Western Conference. LaMarcus Aldridge (17 points, 16 rebounds) is a nice player but a fringe All-Star in his best possible season. Ageless and underrated Andre Miller had 14 points and seven assists and Wesley Matthews scored 12 points with seven rebounds.

Off the bench for the Blazers, Rudy Fernandez (who could have been a Celtic this summer) put up 11 points with five assists and three steals.

It's too bad this game was a dull one since it was also on TNT and the Rose Garden is quietly one of the best arenas in the NBA. The hipsters of Oregon deserved better damn it!

The Celts won every quarter which always helps. They were up 21-18 after one quarter and 41-37 at halftime. Boston outscored Portland 23-21 in the third quarter and 24-20 in the fourth.

For the game, the Cs shot 46.9& to the Blazers' 36.7%. Boston made one more 3-pointer (5-4) and a whopping 15 more free throws (23-8). Portland pulled down seven more rebounds (49-42), I'll never understand why the Celtics are such a bad rebounding team these days. Maybe that'll improve as Perk gets more minutes.

The Celts had five more assists (21-16) but the Trailblazers made six more steals (13-7) thanks to Boston's six more turnovers (21-15). The Cs had two more blocks (4-2) but Portland outscored them 48-34 in the paint which is hard to explain.

Boston travels to Phoenix tonight to take on the Suns, a team they typically have no problems with. Other than fatigue from last night (always a factor with these old guys), I expect nothing different tonight since these Suns aren't nearly as good as they've been in the last five or six seasons. Shaq is expected to play tonight while Pierce is apparently a game-time decision.

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