On paper, this one looks easy.
The Celtics are cruising, having beaten the Cavaliers 106-87 on Tuesday night for their fourth consecutive win, and the Portland Trail Blazers are slumping.
Portland lost on Tuesday 88-79 to the wretched 76ers for their fourth straight loss. But the Blazers are always a tougher team than they appear on paper — they've overcome adversity a million times before, and they'll surely be a challenge for the Celtics on Wednesday night.
When and Where
Blazers at Celtics
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Head to Head
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Celtics and Blazers. The C's swept two last year, and they're now 5-1 against Portland since the start of the new Big Three era in Boston.
Ray Allen vs. Brandon Roy
As NBA shooting guards go, Roy is as tough a cover as they come — when he's healthy. He's big, he's physical, and athletic, but above all he's versatile. He can thrive with the ball in his hands, creating shots for himself and making plays for others, or he can play off the ball, spotting up from beyond the arc on occasion.
Wednesday night's matchup, however, might not see the same Roy, as he's battled through knee issues this year. That won't mean Allen will be taking his defensive assignment lightly.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Shaquille O'Neal
Point guard: Andre Miller
Shooting guard: Brandon Roy
Small forward: Wesley Matthews
Power forward: LaMarcus Aldridge
Center: Marcus Camby
- Glen Davis had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Celtics' win Tuesday night over the Cavaliers. It was his first double-double since March 29, 2009.
- Shaquille O'Neal is 22-of-28 (78.6 percent) from the field over his last four games.
- Ray Allen has averaged 20.5 points per game against the Blazers in his career, shooting 39.9 percent from 3-point range.
- Wesley Matthews had 26 points in the Blazers' loss Tuesday night to the Sixers. He fell just short of his career high, set on Nov. 16, when he dropped 30 in a win over the Grizzlies.
- LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday. He now has seven double-doubles in 17 games.
- Marcus Camby leads the Blazers in rebounds (184) and blocks (28).
Black and Blue
- Delonte West underwent successful surgery Tuesday on his broken right wrist. He is expected to miss at least three months.
- Jermaine O'Neal is out with a knee injury. He will not play this week.
- Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and will be out until 2011.
- Joel Przybilla is doubtful. He is recovering from knee surgery and is battling a stomach virus.
- Sean Marks is questionable with a sprained right ankle.
- Greg Oden is out for the season with a knee injury.
- Elliot Williams is also out for the season with a knee injury.
- Brandon Roy has played in three straight games after missing three games from Nov. 16-20. After playing 33 minutes on Tuesday night, he may be a bit limited against the Celtics.
The Blazers play a slow, methodical, efficient brand of basketball. They're not a running, gunning, fast-breaking team — they use their size, strength and ball movement to create shots in the half-court and break you down. This is the kind of matchup the Celtics can handle, but they can't afford any defensive lapses. The Blazers are loaded with shot-makers, and any one of them can carry the load on any given night. The C's will need a complete effort on the defensive end to extend their winning streak.