Celtics Live Blog: Ray Allen Bounces Back With 22 Points as C’s Beat Blazers 104-86


Celtics Live Blog: Ray Allen Bounces Back With 22 Points as C's Beat Blazers 104-86End of game, Celtics 104-86: Ray Allen came back in a big way. As everyone was reminded over the past two days, Allen did not hit a field goal against the Sixers. This one was a bit different.

Allen's 8-for-12 shooting night was one of the biggest reasons the Celtics turned a four-point lead late in the first quarter into a lead of as many as 43 points in the third quarter. Pierce matched Allen with 22 points, as did Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge in a losing effort.

If Celtics fans would like to see more of their team in live action soon, they're out of luck. The Celtics' next eight games are on the road. They're home again March 25 against the Wizards.

While they're away, stick right here for some late-night updates on how the C's fair in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and Denver.

Fourth quarter, 4:15, Celtics 94-76: That'll be it for Stiemsma. A solid 27-minute performance came to an end when Stiemsma picked up his sixth foul. He exited with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

Fourth quarter, 5:31, Celtics 92-71: Doc Rivers cleared his bench with Pavlovic, Stiemsma, Dooling, Bradley and Johnson, and the offense ground to a halt. It would take a lot for the Blazers to make up more than 40 points, though, especially with such hoops luminaries as Nolan Smith, Luke Babbit and Chris Johnson manning the comeback.

Garnett must already be excited over the inevitable appearance of Gino.

Fourth quarter, 8:36, Celtics 91-63: There's been a Luke Babbit sighting. The second-year forward from Nevada-Reno stepped in a drained a 3 to pull Portland within 30 points. Then he fouled Avery Bradley on a fastbreak, so all in all it was about even.

End of third quarter, Celtics 88-54: A 40-point deficit was apparently more than Aldridge could handle. He took it upon himself to make it a little more respectable, scoring six points in the last 2:13 of the third quarter, but the Celtics still held a commanding lead.

Allen, Pierce and Aldridge were tied for the game-high of 22 points heading into the final frame. Pierce and Allen posted probably the easiest-looking 44 points of the year, shooting 15-for-25.

Third quarter, 2:42, Celtics 84-45: If the Wizards are watching this game, JaVale McGee must be thinking, "Wow, I might not be the most hopeless player on the court Saturday."

The Wizards are the Blazers' next opponent, and John Wall might have a field day with Felton. The Blazers point guard went 2-for-5 with three personal fouls and five turnovers in another forgettable game for the struggling guard.

Another basket by Allen pushed the Celtics' lead briefly to 43 points. Yeah, really.

Third quarter, 8:05, Celtics 74-37: The Celtics must have watched Thursday's whupping in Philadelphia on loop, because they came out for this game in a baaaaaad mood.

The Celtics continued to hound the Blazers defensively, holding Portland to 38 percent shooting and forcing 20 turnovers. Meanwhile, the C's shot 30-for-51 (59 percent) from the field with just four turnovers.

That's, uh, not so good for Portland and really good for Boston.

Halftime, Celtics 65-30: The second leg of a seven-game, 11-night road trip did not get off to the start the Trail Blazers probably would have liked.

Helped by a 6 minute, 33-second stretch in which they outscored Portland 22-0, the Celtics built their lead to as many as 37 points in the first half. The Celtics totaled 10 steals while forcing 17 turnovers, and limiting the Blazers to eight assists.

The Celtics handed out 15 assists versus just three turnovers in the first half.

The Good: If not for LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers might not even have cracked double figures in scoring. The All-Star power forward scored 16 points, more than half of his team's total. … Paul Pierce had that old familiar feeling. The Celtics captain shot 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He'd have a case for the best player in the first half if not for Kevin Garnett, who shot a perfect 4-for-4 and nabbed seven rebounds while tallying three assists. … Ray Allen dropped four of his six first-half shots, including two of his three 3-point attempts, to reach 12 points. … Sasha Pavlovic was a difference-maker in 8:34, hitting all three of his shots and notching two steals to go with his eight points. … Rajon Rondo's stat line wasn't as jaw-dropping as it was Sunday, but his eight points and two assists were solid in light of his turnover-free 16 minutes.

The Bad: Everyone in a Blazers uniform except Aldridge was terrible, but Gerald Wallace stood out. "Crash" went 1-for-4 from the field for two points with one rebound, no assists, two fouls and four turnovers.

The So-So: In a reversal from Tuesday, when he hit four of his six shots but had a negligible effect on the defensive and rebounding ends, Greg Stiemsma made up for his 0-for-3 shooting by grabbing three rebounds and blocking a shot. The only blights on his line, as usual, were his three personal fouls in just 13 minutes.

Second quarter, 2:45, Celtics 58-23: Pierce was pumped. Rondo had fired a 40-foot bounce pass to Allen, who passed to Pierce trailing the play, and Pierce finished with a dunk to give the Celtics a 35-point lead. Naturally, Pierce was a little amped, and he hung on the rim an extra second to celebrate.

Of course, the fun police (i.e. the officials) get angry at anyone who can do things like dunk on professional basketball players, so they gave Pierce a technical foul.

The basketball gods were watching and judging, though, because Crawford missed the technical free throw.

Second quarter, 5:34, Celtics 48-21: This game started at 4:30 p.m. Portland time, so maybe the Blazers weren't in game-ready mode yet. Or maybe there's a better explanation for their complete absence in the first and second quarters.

Following a 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford, the Blazers watched the Celtics reel off 22 consecutive points before a Batum dunk finally closed the gap to a 24-point Celtics lead.

The run featured two run-outs by Pavlovic for layups and fouls (he only complete one of the two three-point plays) and only two touches by Aldridge, the Blazers' leading scorer.

Bradley found Allen in the corner for a 3 that stretched Boston's lead to 27 points, the largest of the game.

Second quarter, 10:18, Celtics 36-17: The Blazers made it mighty easy for the Celtics, handing away the ball 11 times in the first 14 minutes. The turnovers led to multiple easy shots for the Celtics, who hit 17 of their first 27 field goals.

To complicate matters for Portland, the Celtics didn't reciprocate the turnovers. The Celtics gave up the ball just two times, and committed only three personal fouls to deny the Blazers a single free throw attempt.

End of first quarter, Celtics 27-17: Sasha Pavlovic received the earliest and most extended playing time he's received in weeks, logging two minutes of playing time in the first quarter.

Pavlovic did not crack the box score except for a steal, but his role is not to score. The Celtics need the 6-foot-8 forward to combat the Blazers' athletic wings Wallace, Batum and Wesley Matthews.

First quarter, 2:38, Celtics 21-14: Go ahead, Danny Ainge. Break up the Big Three if you dare.

That was the message sent by Pierce, Allen and Garnett (with their play, at least) in the opening 10 minutes. The so-called "Big Three" went 7-for-10 and helped the Celtics compile a seven-point lead in the early going. As usual, Boston got killed on the boards, where Portland took a 10-6 advantage.

First quarter, 6:00, Celtics 14-10: The difference between the Western and Eastern conferences were on stark display in the early going. In the West, the Blazers are a last-place team. Against the Celtics, who are in the hunt for a first-round homecourt playoff series in the East, the Blazers pretty much matched shot for shot.

Aldridge is tricky in the post, and he showed just a few of the moves in his arsenal by hitting three of his first four shots..

Kevin Garnett also got off to a good start, which the Celtics need. Garnett was perfect on three shot attempts.

7:41 p.m.: As this is the Celtics' final home game before March 17, they've donned their St. Patrick's day uniforms a few days early. Let the green beer flow.

7:05 p.m.: Few teams were as reliable at the point last season than the Blazers. With veteran Andre Miller and versatile Brandon Roy, Portland committed the fourth-fewest turnovers in the league and took the Dallas Mavericks, the eventual champions, to six games in the Western Conference playoffs.

With Miller in Denver and Roy retired, the Blazers' point guard play has been inconsistent at best this season, as coach Nate McMillan seems to have lost confidence in Raymond Felton — and rightfully so. The 27-year-old North Carolina product is averaging a career-high 3.1 turnovers per 36 minutes and McMillan has even resorted to using Jamal Crawford, a score-first guard who has never averaged more than 5.1 assists per game, at the one. Rookie guard Elliot Williams, who is coming off double knee surgery, has played a larger reserve role in the past two weeks, but he is out after dislocating his shoulder during practice Thursday.

The Blazers were able to rush out to a strong start due to the play of LaMarcus Aldridge, who can be unstoppable in the post on offense, and Gerald Wallace, one of the hardest workers in the NBA. But without any consistency from the most important position, they have fallen back to last place in the Northwest Division after losing five of their last seven games.

The projected starting lineups appear below.

Marcus Camby
LaMarcus Aldridge
Nicolas Batum
Gerald Wallace
Raymond Felton

Kevin Garnett
Brandon Bass
Paul Pierce
Ray Allen
Rajon Rondo 

8 a.m. ET: The quest to take over first place in the Atlantic Division didn't go so well on Wednesday, but the Celtics are still eyeing that No. 4 playoff seed.

Much of the progress they make in that regard — in any — will come on the road, where the Celtics begin an eight-game road trip on Sunday. First, they host the Portland Trail Blazers, who sit in last place in the most competitive division in the NBA.

Despite being just a game under .500 and possessing one of the top three power forwards in the game in LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers (19-20) are stuck in the cellar of the Northwest Division. Second place and fifth place are separated by a mere 2 1/2 games, and none of those teams is more than 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.

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