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Celtics/Blazers Preview

   by ASA - 02/18/2010

Boston Celtics vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Portland

The Blazers (32-24) destroyed the Clippers in their first game back from the All-Star break, 109-87, and they did it without Marcus Camby, who watched in street clothes from the Portland bench after being acquired in a trade with the Clippers earlier in the day.

Camby, the No. 2 rebounder in the NBA, was picked up in the deal that sent guard Steve Blake and injured forward Travis Outlaw to the Clips. With centers Oden and Przybilla lost for the season to injuries, the need for Camby was evident Tuesday night.

“At times, (the Clippers) got to the basket fairly easy,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “What (Camby) brings to the floor, we are missing — a guy who will rotate and defend the basket as well as rebound and block shots. That’s his strength. I’m looking forward to getting him out there.”

Camby is likely to suit up as a Blazer for the first time on Friday, but All-Star guard Brandon Roy is questionable. Roy played in the 1st half against the Clippers, but sat out the second half due to tightness in his right hamstring that had caused him to miss 15 of the previous 16 games.

Roy sounded afterward as if he may decide to sit out an extended period of time to heal the leg. “I feel like I’m probably going to need to stop playing for awhile,” said Roy, “It’s hard to get a rhythm. I was more concerned about (making) the move than shooting the basketball. If I’m thinking that much about playing, it’s not worth being out there.” McMillan said no decision has been made on Roy’s availability for Portland’s next game Friday against Boston.

“We have days to give him some time, and we’ll do that,” he said.

Boston
The Celtics are playing their 2nd straight road game after a trip to face the Lakers last night (results of the Celtics-Lakers game unavailable at the time of this writing). Despite being located on opposite sides of the country; Los Angeles is, without question, one of Boston’s biggest rivals. From the days of Larry vs. Magic to, more recently, The Big Three vs. Kobe in the NBA Finals; this always has been, and always will be, a very heated rivalry. The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 0 days rest so it will be interesting to see how they respond in their 2nd of back to back road games when visiting Portland on Friday.

Boston has been rumored among trade talks that are mainly surrounding Ray Allen and Eddie House. Celts GM Danny Ainge is looking to pump life into a team that’s lost its luster and edge. He has to determine whether dealing Allen for a younger piece and probably some other team’s bad contract will make the Celtics factors again. Eddie House is a well liked by his teammates and plays a positive role in the locker room.

Allen is determined to prove that he still has game and the Celtics as they currently are constructed still are capable of reaching the FInals. His numbers have clearly slipped as Allen entered last night averaging 16.0 points over 49 games and is shooting just 33.8 percent from long range. Last season Allen averaged 18.2 ppg while hitting over 40% from beyond the arc so the numbers don't lie.

The Big Three, for the first time in two months, are healthy at the same time. Paul Pierce rested his strained left foot while in Dallas, and Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy should receive a couple of thank you cards from Celtics fans for only playing All-Stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a combined 24 minutes.

Without Garnett and Pierce at full strength; the Celtics were just a shadow of the team they had envisioned they’d be. “We lost games we wished we had back,’’ Allen said. “We made mistakes we wished we hadn’t made. Our eyes are not off what our goal is. We still feel optimistic and everybody has a desire to win. That’s what we’re working on. That’s what our focus is.’’

Head to Head

These two met in Boston back on January 22nd. All-Star Kevin Garnett made his return from a knee injury while Blazers’ Roy was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Garnett gave Boston’s front line a major boost. The Celts out-scored Portland in the paint, 56-32.

Portland won their home meeting with the Celts last season to end a seven game losing streak against Boston. Boston’s win in January extended their streak to eight wins in the last nine meetings between these two. The C's have covered the number in seven of those nine games.

Key Statistical Information

PPG
Boston: +5.0
Portland: +2.6
Field Goal Percentage
Boston: +3.9%
Portland: +0.2%
Rebounding Per Game
Boston: -0.7
Portland: +2.1

Trends (relevant before Boston’s game with Los Angeles)

Boston is just 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. Western Conference but they are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Northwest with 5 straight up victories this season – Portland, Utah, Minnesota (x2), and Oklahoma City. Portland is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference but, as mentioned above, they’ve struggled against Boston. They are just 1-4 ATS in the last 5 home games against the Celtics.

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