The Celtics proceed their Western highway journey with a cease in Portland to tackle Damian Lillard and the Path Blazers. That is the second sport of a 3 sport highway journey for the Celtics. That is the third sport of a 3 sport house stand for the Blazers. That is the primary of two video games between these two groups this season. They may meet once more on Might 2 in Boston.
The Celtics swept the collection final season 2-0. The Celtics lead the collection all time 69-47 and so they lead the collection in Portland 31-27. With their win in opposition to the Nuggets on Sunday, the Celtics have gained 5 of their final 6 video games. With their loss to the Warmth on Sunday, the Path Blazers have misplaced 4 of their final 6 video games. The Path Blazers are taking part in of their third sport in 4 nights after taking part in a again to again on Saturday and Sunday.
The Celtics stay in seventh place within the East. They’re tied with Charlotte (6) and half a sport behind Miami (5) and 1 sport behind Atlanta (4). They’re 1 sport forward of New York (#8) and a pair of video games forward of Indiana (9). The Celtics are 7-3 of their final 10 video games and 11-16 on the highway. They’ve gained 3 straight video games. They’re 10-12 in opposition to Western groups.
The Path Blazers are sixth within the West. They’re 2 video games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who’re fifth and three video games behind the 4th place Denver Nuggets. They’re 1.5 video games forward of seventh place Dallas and 4 forward of eighth place Dallas. They’re 16-11 at house and 6-4 of their final 10 video games. They’re 15-8 vs Japanese groups.
Each groups are as near full power as groups get this time of yr with every crew lacking only one participant. For the Celtics, Evan Fournier stays out as a result of league’s well being and security protocols. For the Path Blazers, Zach Collins stays out after surgical procedure to his left ankle.
Possible Celtics Starters
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Sensible
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Robert Williams III
Evan Fournier (covid) out
Possible Path Blazers Starters
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Norman Powell
PF: Robert Covington
C: Jusuf Nurkic
Path Blazers Reserves
Harry Giles III
Derrick Jones, Jr
Zach Collins (ankle) out
Kemba Walker vs Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is averaging 28.7 factors, 4.2 rebounds, and seven.6 assists. He’s taking pictures 44.1% from the sector and 37.8% from past the arc. He’s a menace to shoot from anyplace on the courtroom and it’s sure that Kemba will want some assist slowing him down. Ordinarily, Marcus Sensible or Jaylen Brown may cowl Lillard, however they are going to have their palms full with CJ McCollum and Norman Powell.
Marcus Sensible vs CJ McCollum
McCollum is averaging 23.5 factors, 3,8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.0 steals per sport. He’s taking pictures 44.9% from the sector and 40.2% from past the arc. Each Lillard and McCollum are able to large video games and each must be effectively defended.
Honorable Point out
Jaylen Brown vs Norman Powell
Powell was acquired from Toronto on the commerce deadline and is a giant addition to the Path Blazers. He’s averaging 19.0 factors, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals. He’s averaging 16.3 factors since he arrived in Portland however continues to be able to placing up large numbers if not guarded intently.
Keys to the Sport
Protection – Protection is a key to profitable each sport. The Celtics haven’t been the hardest crew on protection this season however we noticed them present that they’re able to taking part in good protection after they held the Denver Nuggets to only 8 factors within the 4th quarter on Sunday. The Blazers common 115.0 factors and so the Celtics might want to play robust protection on this one as they gained’t win a shoot out in opposition to them. The Celtics are 14th within the league with a defensive ranking of 111.4 whereas the Blazers are twenty ninth with a defensive ranking of 116.0. The Celtics must make protection a precedence in the event that they wish to get a win on this sport.
Rebound – The Celtics should make an additional effort to seize rebounds with a view to give themselves additional possessions in addition to to maintain the Blazers from cashing in with second likelihood factors since they’re 2nd within the league with 15.0 second likelihood factors per sport. This shouldn’t be a shock since they’ve Enes Kanter, who is likely one of the greatest offensive rebounders within the season and who’s coming off a 30 rebound sport. The Celtics should work more durable on the boards in the event that they wish to win this one.
Transfer the Ball Fastidiously – One of many keys to profitable for the Celtics is to maneuver the ball and discover the open man. Once they play hero ball, it normally doesn’t finish effectively. Whereas they’ve to maneuver the ball, additionally they must watch out with their passes. Of their latest losses, the Celtics averaged 19 turnovers per sport and so they must take higher care of the ball, particularly for the reason that Blazers solely flip the ball over 11 instances on common per sport. The Celtics should transfer the ball and search for the open man and play as a crew.
Be Aggressive – The Celtics must be the crew that works more durable and desires the win extra. They must dive for free balls, go for each rebound and simply hustle on each play on each ends of the courtroom. They must be aggressive in attending to the basket as effectively and never accept exterior photographs, particularly in the event that they aren’t falling. Once they received again within the sport in opposition to the Nuggets, it was with layups and never threes.
Play Exhausting for 48 Minutes
Of their final 2 wins, the Celtics began off slowly and dug themselves right into a gap. In opposition to the Timberwolves, they had been down by 17 factors and in opposition to the Nuggets, they had been down by as many as 14 earlier than they began taking part in exhausting and got here again. The Celtics want to begin off robust after which play exhausting for the complete 48 minutes. In the event that they maintain digging themselves a gap, it’s going to come back again to chew them. They should come out with power and never play exhausting proper from the start of the sport.
On the Highway – The Celtics are on the highway and must cope with journey, a hostile crowd (although a smaller one), and an unfamiliar courtroom together with a time change. They’ve to dam out all of the distractions that taking part in on the highway brings and focus on taking part in Celtics basketball. Younger gamers particularly appear to wrestle on the highway and so the veterans might want to maintain the younger gamers targeted and taking part in the appropriate manner.
Officiating – I do know that I say this each sport, however the officiating actually is all the time an x-factor in each sport. Each crew calls the sport otherwise whether or not they name each little ticky tack foul or they let numerous contact go and let the groups play. Some refs favor the house crew and a few not a lot. The Celtics have gotten to regulate to the way in which the sport is being known as and never let themselves get pissed off by the officiating.