Blazers entertain struggling Celtics

Published January 11, 2014

| Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers will resume a three-game homestand Saturday versus the Boston Celtics at the Moda Center.

Portland ended a two-game slide and won for the third time in seven tries with Wednesday's 110-94 victory over the Orlando Magic behind Nicolas Batum's fourth career triple-double of 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

Orlando led 51-45 at halftime and 75-71 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Trail Blazers outscored the Magic, 39-19, in the final stanza. Portland also outscored Orlando, 42-24, in the paint.

"For too long, we let (Orlando) stick right there with us. It all changed in the fourth quarter," Batum said.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished two points shy of a season-high and recorded 36 points on 16-of-25 shooting to help Portland avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. Wesley Matthews chipped in 17 points and Damian Lillard, who dropped a career-high 41 points on Tuesday, had 11 in the win.

The Trail Blazers are 14-4 at home this season and will close the stay next Wednesday versus Cleveland. Blazers rookie C.J. McCollum appeared in his first NBA game after missing 32 games due to a fractured left foot and two games due to an assignment with the Idaho Stampede. He recorded four points, two rebounds and one steal in his first NBA appearance.

Boston is mired in a season-worst seven-game losing streak and the woes continued Friday in a 99-97 setback at Golden State. Warriors guard Steph Curry hit the go-ahead basket with 2.1 seconds remaining and Gerald Wallace missed on a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Jeff Green scored 24 points and pulled down 11 boards, while Jared Sullinger scored 21 points to go with 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who are 0-4 on a five-game western trip and have lost seven in a row as the visitor. The Celtics are 5-14 away from TD Garden.

"Lost seven straight and guys are still fighting out there," Sullinger said. "Guys are still trying to make plays. Guys are still together. It's not like we're pulling apart."

Kris Humphries finished with 16 points and 14 boards in defeat.

After the Celtics visit the Blazers they will return to Beantown for three straight games versus Houston, Toronto and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Boston dropped a 109-96 home decision to Portland on Nov. 15, but is 14-4 in the previous 18 meetings between the teams. Boston has lost 11 of its last 19 trips to the Rose City.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/02/24/blazers-hope-to-end-slide-in-meeting-with-celtics/