Live Blog: Celtics vs. Trail Blazers

by

January 22, 2010

Live Blog: Celtics vs. Trail BlazersFinal: Celtics 98, Blazers 95.

Rudy Fernandez launches a three-point attempt with six seconds left, but it rims out. Amazingly, he gets his own rebound and another open look — but he misses again. The Celtics survive with a 98-95 win in incredible fashion.

The three-game losing streak is over, and the C's emerge victorious in the return of Kevin Garnett.

Ray Allen,
with a huge three in the final minute and an equally huge rebound off
Aldridge's final miss with 19 seconds to go, ends up the hero. Tough
loss for Aldridge, who finishes with 19 and 10 in the losing effort.

Overtime, 12.5 seconds, Celtics 98-95: Unbelievable. Aldridge
gets a good look with 18 seconds left and a chance to give the C's the
lead — but it rims out and bounces long. The ensuing fracas for the
loose ball ends with the rock in the hands of Ray Allen — who feeds
Tony Allen in transition for a thunderous dunk, a dagger in the
Blazers' hearts. It's now a three-point game again, and a Portland timeout with 12.5 ticks remaining.

Overtime, 41.3 seconds, Celtics 96-95: The Blazers indeed keep
the basketball, but Kendrick Perkins scraps for a rebound under the
basket with Juwan Howard on the ensuing possession, and Perk comes away
with a steal. Back on the Celtics' end, Rondo then finds Ray Allen open
for a 3-pointer to give Boston the lead — and he drains it. A huge
swing in the Celtics' favor with just over 40 seconds to play.

Overtime, 1:19, Blazers 95-93: After a bucket from Andre Miller
gives the Blazers the lead and Allen then misses a jumper on the other
end, the Blazers get it back. Miller misses a jumper this time, but in
a struggle for the rebound, Rondo loses control and tips it out of
bounds. Or so the officials allege — Doc Rivers protests the
call, and it's now under review. It looked like Rondo touched it last,
although Aldridge was near the basket as well — the call will be
difficult to reverse.

Overtime, 2:13, 93-93: The two teams trade buckets in the third
minute — first a long jumper from Rondo, then a tip-in from Juwan
Howard
for the Blazers. Still tied.

Overtime, 3:05, 91-91: The Celtics start the overtime with three
stops on the defensive end; the Blazers get two. A defensive three
seconds call on the Celtics' third possession gives Ray Allen a
technical free throw, and a chance to give the C's the lead — but he
misses. We're still scoreless in the extra session.

End of regulation, 91-91: Aldridge gets a good look in the paint
with a chance to win the game for Portland, but it's not meant to be.
Perkins deflects the last-second shot, and the final buzzer sounds with
the score still tied at 91. We're headed for an extra session here at
the Garden.

Fourth quarter, 1.1 seconds, 91-91: Pierce keeps it himself, and
he charges into the lane in the final seconds to get off one last shot.
"Charge" being the operative word. It's an offensive foul, Pierce's
sixth personal, and he's done. A crippling blow to the Celtics with one
second to play. One chance for the Blazers to win this thing before
overtime.

Fourth quarter, 13.1 seconds, 91-91: Pierce misses a chance to give the Celtics the lead with 19 seconds to play, but when the rebound goes long, Rondo makes a tremendous hustle play to corral the rebound and keep the C's in the driver's seat. Timeout, Boston — the Celtics will have the ball for the final possession.

Fourth quarter, 34.2 seconds, 91-91: Huge jumper from Martell Webster. We are all tied up.

Fourth quarter, 1:03, Celtics 91-89: Rajon Rondo takes a Martell
Webster
miss coast to coast for an easy layup, but Webster answers with
a huge three from the top of the key to make it a one-possession
basketball game. Webster then gets a huge rebound off a Ray Allen miss
with 1:22 left, but he loses control of the ball on the other end,
turning it over and giving the Celtics the ball back with 1:03
remaining in the game. A crucial moment for the Blazers to get back in
the game, choked away.

Fourth quarter, 3:33, Celtics 89-83: A huge Boston run here in
the fourth quarter has helped to bury the Blazers. A Pierce 3 launches the Garden crowd into hysterics, and the Celtics captain
follows that up by snatching a Miller rebound, finding Rajon Rondo
downcourt, and feeding him for an open layup. Another Rondo bucket, a
put-back of a KG miss, makes it 89-83 Boston on the following
possession.

Fourth quarter, 6:44, Celtics 82-79: The Blazers get a chance to
tie this thing up, but it doesn't happen. Martell Webster, hacked in
the act of a three-point attempt by Paul Pierce, gets to the line for
three shots with the score 80-77 Boston, but he misses the second and
can only get the Blazers to within one. Back on the other end, Pierce
then draws a shooting foul from Webster and hits both shots. It's a
three-point Boston lead once again.

Fourth quarter, 8:43, Celtics 76-75: We're back to a one-point
game again. Aldridge, Blake and Webster have all scored for the Blazers
in the past minute and a half — Aldridge now has 19 points and eight
boards to lead the Blazers, and it's a 76-75 nail-biter with under nine
minutes to play. Still no KG on the floor for Boston.

Fourth quarter, 10:14, Celtics 74-69: Missed threes on parade.
First House for Boston, then Rudy Fernandez for the Blazers, then
Sheed, then LaMarcus Aldridge misses a 31-footer (yes, 31!) for
Portland. Then Sheed misses another three from the corner. We are still
scoreless in the fourth quarter. This isn't pretty.

End of third quarter, Celtics 74-69: Ray Allen hits two free
throws at the 1:06 mark to give Boston a five-point lead, and both
teams go scoreless over the final minute of the third quarter. A
five-point lead for Boston with one quarter to play — we haven't seen
Garnett on the floor for the past nine minutes, which means he should
be well rested to give a final 12 minutes of a shut-down defense to
close this thing out.

Third quarter, 2:41, Celtics 72-66: Now we're trading jumpers at
rapid fire. A long two from Aldridge off a Miller assist; a Wallace
trey for Boston; a mid-range dagger from Andre Miller. The Blazers'
shooters are really feeling it in the second half. Don't count them out
— if the shots stop falling for Boston and the Blazers get an
opportunity to surge back into this game, they'll take it.

Third quarter, 4:15, Celtics 69-62: As fast as the Celtics let
the Blazers back into this game, they're now starting to pull away
again. Rondo, Pierce and Perkins have carried the Celtics on an 8-2 run
— the Blazers' defense is once again starting to ease up, and the C's
have taken advantage.

Third quarter, 7:22, Celtics 61-60: This one's getting too close
for comfort. A technical free throw for Andre Miller on an illegal
defense call, followed by a long three from Rudy Fernandez, has made it
a one-point basketball game. Garnett, Perkins, Pierce and Rondo all now
have three or more fouls — this is getting scary.

Third quarter, 9:04, Celtics 59-56: Martell Webster has opened
the second half with six consecutive points for the Blazers. Go figure
— three points in the first half, six in the first three minutes of
the second. Portland is back to within three, and the Celtics will have
to crank up the defense inside to keep Webster from getting the Blazers
back into this thing. KG is on the bench with four fouls.

Halftime, Celtics 55-50: An electrifying play in the final
minute gives the Celtics a seven-point lead. Rondo takes off
downcourt after Pierce recovers a loose ball on a jump ball, and Pierce
pegs him with a perfect pass under the basket for a transition layup.
LaMarcus Aldridge
closes the half with an easy basket, giving him a
game-high 16, points, but it's the Celtics who take a five-point
advantage into the break.

Some stats to tide you over until the second half: The Celtics are still on fire from all over the floor, shooting a dazzling 57.9 percent as a team. The Blazers are shooting 43.6 percent, but they are grossly outrebounding Boston at the moment, 21-15. Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless have 12 points each to go along with Aldridge's 16; Garnett, Pierce and Wallace all have 11 each for the Celtics. Aldridge has a game-high six rebounds; Rondo leads the way with five assists for Boston.

Second quarter, 1:17, Celtics 50-46: Neither team has scored in
the past two-plus minutes — every possession is one shot, miss,
defensive rebound. No second-chance points for anyone. The Celtics'
lead is still intact, but KG and Perkins each now have three fouls, and
their defense inside is hurting without those two guys on the floor.

Second quarter, 3:08, Celtics 50-46: The Blazers are quietly
sneaking back into this thing, going on a 9-2 run led by LaMarcus
Aldridge
's presence inside and the dribble penetration of Andre Miller.
The C's are still looking a little bit lax defensively, allowing the
Blazers to sneak inside and create shots — but lucky for them,
Portland has been even worse on the defensive end.

Second quarter, 5:48, Celtics 48-37: When Rasheed Wallace is on,
he's really on. Sheed is now 5-for-6 from the floor for a team-high 11
points; the Blazers have relied upon the mid-range shooting of LaMarcus
Aldridge
and Jerryd Bayless to stay in this thing, but the C's lead is
still a healthy 11. Still looking for Portland's defense. … No sign of
it.

Second quarter, 7:54, Celtics 42-31: The Garden crowd comes to
life as Rasheed finally connnects from downtown for the first time
tonight, widening the C's lead to nine. After a Rudy Fernandez
miss and a Baby rebound, the C's get another bucket in transition, this
time a layup from Ray Allen. It's a double-digit lead for the men in
green.

Second quarter, 9:25, Celtics 35-27: Sloppy start to the second quarter for both sides — bad passes, lazy jumpers not going in, a few turnovers. A layup from Tony Allen has widened the Celtics' lead to eight, their biggest of the night.

End of first quarter, Celtics 30-25: Big Baby tacks on a couple
of free throws with 30 seconds left in the quarter, and the two sides
trade turnovers in the final two possessions. A nice run for the
Celtics to close the quarter — they're now shooting 63.2 percent from
the floor as a team, and they've got a solid five-point lead.

First quarter, 1:02, Celtics 28-23: The C's lose some defense by
pulling KG and Rondo for Glen Davis and Eddie House. But they gain some
firepower offensively — first House goes to Allen to Pierce for an
open three, and then a beautiful give-and-go-and-give-again sets up
House for a layup in transition. Boston surges to a five-point lead.

First quarter, 3:51, Celtics 19-17: The Celtics surge back into
this thing in a hurry. KG drains a free throw at the 5:39 mark after a
Boston timeout; Rondo then creates a layup in transition, and after a
Juwan Howard miss, KG gets fast break for a dunk as well. One
possession later, Pierce gets in on the action. It's raining easy
baskets.

First quarter, 5:39, Blazers 15-12: The Blazers are starting to
put together a little run here midway through the first quarter, with
all five Portland starters getting into the lane and scoring with ease
early on. The Celtics aren't at full strength defensively inside — KG
is still shaking off the rust, and Perk continues to ride the pine with
two early fouls.

First quarter, 8:26, 8-8: It's interesting to see how Juwan
Howard
, playing center but listed at a generous 6-foot-9, is able to
create opportunities inside. Howard has been trying to keep the Blazers
afloat with short jumpers in the paint, and so far it's working. Not
only has he just tied the game with a quick 10-footer, but he's helped
get Kendrick Perkins into early foul trouble. It's an early entrance for Rasheed Wallace as Perk picks up his first two.

First quarter, 9:22, Celtics 6-4: The C's are off to a strong
start, using their size advantage on these Blazers to get inside and
create easy buckets. Paul Pierce has created two easy baskets inside to pace
the Celtics early; Ray Allen has tacked on another, with Rajon Rondo assisting on
all three Boston scores. KG is at the line for two shots as we speak.

7:39 p.m.: There are approximately 30,000 eyes fixed directly on
Kevin Garnett right now. Not that anyone's counting. The Celtics'
forward has been introduced to thunderous applause here at the packed
Garden, and we're ready for tipoff. Welcome back, KG.

7:31 p.m.: Minutes away from the opening tipoff, and KG is
indeed poised to take the floor for the Celtics, seeing his first
action since Dec. 28 at Golden State. The C's have their regular
starting five for the first time in 2010; the Blazers are going with a
lineup of Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge and Juwan Howard. Looks like Steve Blake will be the first man off the bench for Blazers coach Nate McMillan.

4:25 p.m.: The Celtics have been in bad shape these past few weeks without Kevin Garnett. Luckily for them, he's on the way back.

After going 4-6 in the 10-game absence of their defensive backbone, the C's will look to KG to make his return Friday night as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Boston. For Boston, it's a night of health and healing; for the Blazers, it's just another night plagued by injuries. Brandon Roy, who reaggravated a hamstring injury earlier this week, is out of action, and the team is also without several notable big men, including 2007 No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden.

The Celtics have lost three straight games, while the Blazers have won three of their last four, despite their injury woes.

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