Holding steady: Boston Celtics @ Portland Trailblazers preview

Present alternate logo since the 2002–03 Season
Present alternate logo since the 2002–03 Season (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1-2 on the road trip so far, two more games to go. Will the C’s be able to clinch the remaining two games and come out with a 3-2 this road trip?

Stat check: The Blazers are on a 7 game losing streak, the latest being a close loss to the Lakers on the road, 107-111.

Game time: 25 Feb 2013, 1300hrs AEDT

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo is out for the season with a torn ACL on his right knee.
  2. Jared Sullinger is out for the season after his back operation.
  3. Leandro Barbosa is out for the season with a torn ACL on his left knee.
  4. Wesley Matthews (ankle, day-to-day) participated in shooting drills on Saturday, but did not attend full practice.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: LaMarcus Aldridge (20.8 PPG)
  2. Rebounds: JJ Hickson (10.4 RPG)
  3. Assists: Damian Lillard (6.5 APG)

Keys to the game:

  1. Containing Aldridge: With an especially depleted front court for our guys in green now, LaMarcus Aldridge’s offensive impact will be keenly felt. His ability to hit shots in the post and the long two makes him especially dangerous; expect KG to be going at Aldridge hard.
  2. Lillard, period: Potential Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard is a potential threat on the perimeter. With the poise that has allowed him to make countless big shots this season, defensive stopper Bradley will definitely be on the job, all ready to stifle the surging young guard.
  3. Bench scoring: New signings Terrence Williams and Jordan Crawford did an excellent job in the Suns game, giving immediate impact. Williams was very handy with the assists and made good passes with his excellent court vision, while Crawford scored right off his first game (10 points), telling the team he can and will continue to score. Expect the duo to continue producing in good form.
  4. The Green Machine: Jeff Green proved his ability as a starter last game, with a huge stat line of 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 5 huge blocks, while keeping the uglies away with only one TO and one foul. The question comes: do you play Green to start once more, or revert to the usual lineup of KG-Pierce-Bass-Bradley-Lee? I’d like to think that Pierce could do with coming off the bench and save his legs, while giving Green the opportunity to give the team what it needs.

I do not see this game as an impossible win, but the key lies in defense. Do not give the Blazers a chance to rally, keep our new pieces running and keep the foot on the pedal. Call me green-goggled, but I have a relatively good feel about this game – expect the C’s to take this one and prepare for the tough Utah game ahead.

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