Celtics Hunting for Third Straight West Coast Win

Celtics Hunting for Third Straight West Coast Win Welcome to February. It's a new month, and the Celtics have a newfound ability to win games on the West Coast.

First the C's tipped off the second half of their season at Sacramento, beating the Kings at their place. Then, in a crucial grudge match with the hated Lakers, the C's won by a point and made it back-to-back victories. Can they keep it going? Their next test will come in Portland against the banged-up Blazers. We'll see if the C's have any energy left after another grueling day of travel.

When and Where

Friday, Feb. 19, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

Records

Celtics (34-18, first place in Atlantic Division, third place in Eastern Conference)
Blazers (32-24, fourth place in Northwest Division, eighth place in Western Conference)

Head to Head

After splitting two games with the Blazers last season, the Celtics emerged victorious in their first meeting with Portland in 2009-10. That was last month, when the Blazers visited the TD Garden on Jan. 22. They were without Brandon Roy and still managed to give the Celtics a run for their money. Ray Allen hit a huge three in the final minute of overtime in that game, and the Celtics snuck away with a 98-96 win.

Skinny

It's amazing how well the Blazers have persevered despite being dragged down all season by injuries. Brandon Roy, their leading scorer, has had nagging hamstring problems for just about forever now, but the Blazers continue to find other scoring options. Their corps of big men has been depleted by knee problems, but Juwan Howard has filled in nicely, and newcomer Marcus Camby should be a huge help at well. Injuries happen, but these Blazers find ways to overcome them. And if the Celtics this season have been any indication, teams that weather injury problems only emerge stronger in the end.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Trail Blazers
Point guard: Andre Miller
Shooting guard: Rudy Fernandez
Small forward: Martell Webster
Power forward: LaMarcus Aldridge
Center: Marcus Camby

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 7-4 in games decided by three points or less.

They are fourth in the NBA with 447 team steals. Only the Warriors, Nuggets and 76ers have more.

Rajon Rondo had 11 assists against the Lakers on Thursday night, giving him 492 for the season. He's on the verge of eclipsing the 500 mark for the second consecutive year.

Ray Allen shot 10-for-15 on Thursday night. He is 41-for-88 (46.6 percent) from the field in February.

Kendrick Perkins had 14 rebounds on Thursday. He has eclipsed that total only twice this season — he grabbed 16 boards against the Sixers on Dec. 18, and 15 against the Clippers on Jan. 25.

Kevin Garnett has averaged 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists against the Blazers in his career.

Paul Pierce has 22.8 points per game against them.

Blazers
The Blazers have 14 double-digit wins this season.

They shoot 78.8 percent from the free-throw line as a team. Only the Mavericks and Thunder have been better.

The team is 25-16 with Brandon Roy in the starting lineup and 7-8 without him.

Marcus Camby was averaging 7.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game with the L.A. Clippers before being traded to Portland.

Martell Webster made seven of 11 3-point attempts against the Clippers on Tuesday night. Webster is now 13 for his last 25 from 3-point range over the past five games.

LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging a career-high of 8.4 rebounds per game this season.

Andre Miller is averaging 3.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, both career lows.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Tony Allen
tweaked his right ankle in the first half of the Celtics-Lakers game and did not return. His status is uncertain moving forward.

Blazers
Brandon Roy has a strained right hamstring and is doubtful to play.

Gren Oden underwent knee surgery in December and is out for the season.

Joel Przybilla is also out for the year with knee problems.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1957, the Celtics come back from a 41-22 first-half deficit to beat the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 112-110. Bob Cousy hits a miracle 30-foot jump shot with two seconds remaining to lift the Celtics to victory.

Overheard

"First of all, I’m sad to see Eddie [House] go. He was a brother of ours. We won a championship together, so we’ll be forever connected. He’s a good dude, an integral part of this team. My heart goes out to him because I know he really wanted to be here and help us do what we’re trying to do in winning a championship."
–Ray Allen, in Friday's Boston Herald, on losing veteran guard Eddie House in a trade with the New York Knicks

Press Box

Celtics
The Celtics nipped the Lakers in L.A.

Boston's trade for Nate Robinson is done.

The C's will miss Eddie House.

Blazers
Marcus Camby is the new guy in town.

Camby and the Blazers have no time to lose.

Rudy Fernandez develops his game.

NBA
Carmelo Anthony
hit the game-winner as Denver beat Cleveland.

The Knicks swung a deal for Tracy McGrady.

Amare Stoudemire
's staying in Phoenix.

Outlook

Last month, the Celtics couldn't win a game on the West Coast to save their lives; now, they can't lose. But these Blazers will be a new challenge — the arrival of Marcus Camby adds size, strength and considerable rebounding ability to a Portland roster that needed it. This is a different matchup than what the Celtics are used to — the Blazers are big, physical and deep, which will cause matchup problems all over the floor for Boston. The Celtics have health and they have momentum on their side, but getting a win in Portland still won't be easy.

Yardbarker

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