Nov 30, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett (5) dribbles the ball against Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) and center J.J. Hickson (right) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Game 16 Recap: Blazers 78, Celtics 96

Let’s be honest, only the most deluded Blazer fans thought that Portland would actually beat the Celtics in Boston. If you are one of those fans, then more power to you. I’d like to know what gives you the sunshine and rainbows disposition. Also, I would like to know how you deal with real world issues like paying rent and making it to work on time considering that you quite clearly live in an alternate universe where things like objective reality have little to no bearing.

So if Portland was expected to lose Friday night, can the then be excused for not showing up at all, getting embarrassed, and putting themselves in the conversation for worst teams in the league? Sure. It’s Friday. There are three more games on this trip, two of them against bad teams and one against a not very good team. There will be a couple more nights when we can complain about the Blazers under-performing in games they should win or at least be present for. Getting too bent out of shape over Friday serves only as a waste of energy.

Should we look at what happened in this one though? Why not. Let’s use my preview as a starting point. Here are the things I said needed to happen, and what actually happened.

I said Portland needed to keep this thing from getting out of hand early. Friday, the Blazers were outscored 25-18 in the first quarter and 31-15 in the second quarter. So…

I said Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and Damian Lillard needed to shoot well for Portland to keep the game close. Matthews: 2-of-6 from the field and 0-of-1 from three for five points. Damian: 2-of-8 from the field and 1-of-5 from three for eight points (the lowest point total of his career). Nicolas: 2-of-11 from the field and 1-of-6 from three for nine points. Oof.

I said Portland’s bench would have to try to not get out-scored by 30. The Celtics’ bench came up with 41 points Friday night. The Blazers’ second unit got 11 from Meyers Leonard and a combined 11 from Will Barton, Luke Babbitt, Joel Freeland, and Jared Jeffries, so they didn’t get bested by 30. However, the bulk of Portland’s bench scoring was done late in the second half was this thing was very clearly over. Bench scoring was a push at best, and part of that push comes from the fact that a couple of Blazers got some run who really needed a chance to get their sea legs.

That’s basically it. I want to say more about this game, and how it’s symbolic of this team giving up, and about how 16 games into 2012-13 the season is already over. I’ll hold off on that for now because I don’t really believe that it’s true. Boston is way better than Portland even at the Blazers’ very very best. The TD Garden (which I time traveled to in my preview when I called it the Boston Garden) has not been kind to Portland either.

In 08-09 the Blazers fell 93-78 to the Celtics in Boston. We all know how that season ended. Sure those Blazers were 14-6 at the time and came into Boston on a six-game winning streak, but my point is getting blown out by the Celtics is as common as 250 days of rain a year in Portland. It’s not the end of the world.

The Blazers are in Cleveland on Saturday. This is one Portland should win, but we all know how that goes.

Couple quick things:

  • Nolan Smith played 17:23 on Friday. Ronnie Price was the only Blazer not to play. Ronnie may have been being rested because his ankle isn’t a 100% yet, so it might not be a thing. In his first meaningful minutes in a while, Nolan shot 0-of-5 from the field and 0-of-1 from deep, he had two rebounds and an assist, but also turned the ball over three times.
  • Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland had a great dunks in the fourth quarter. They were garbage time points, but both guys need as many confidence boosters as they can get.

Box Score

Standings

Hardwood Houdini

@mikeacker | @ripcityproject | [email protected]

Nov 30, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Jared Sullinger (7) shoots the ball against Portland Trail Blazers power forward Joel Freeland (19) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

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