PORTLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers played in fits and starts in their 112-104 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night at the Moda Center, giving pause to coach Terry Stotts and some of his players.
“You try not to be disappointed about not playing necessarily as well as you wanted to,” Stotts said after his team’s come-from-behind triumph. “Offensively, we were good. Defensively, we were good when we needed to be. This stretch of playing teams with a lesser record apparently is tough for us to get up for. But in the end, it was good to get the win.”
Forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s 21 points and 13 rebounds paced six players scoring in double figures for the Blazers (28-9), including guard Wesley Matthews with 18 points and forward Nicolas Batum with 16. Center Robin Lopez collected 15 points and 13 rebounds and guard Damian Lillard scored 15 points with six assists for the winners.
Guard Avery Bradley tallied 25 points for the Celtics (13-25), who lost their eighth straight game and finished 0-5 on their West Coast road trip.
“We haven’t been able to finish games out the way we want to,” said Bradley, who made 11 of 19 shots and had five rebounds and three assists with no turnovers in 34 minutes. “We had a chance to win multiple games on this trip. It’s very frustrating. I guess we can use it as motivation.”
Boston led through the entire first half, shooting .619 (26 for 42) through two quarters. The second half was a different story, the Celtics shooting at only a .339 clip (18 for 53) to finish the game at .463.
“We tightened up our defense, got out in transition and played with a lot more energy the second half,” Lillard said.
Bradley scored 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting as Boston took a 60-58 advantage at intermission. Lillard had 13 points and Aldridge 11 for the Blazers at the break.
Portland got its first lead at 69-68 on a 3-pointer by Mathews with 7:30 left in the third quarter, part of a 11-0 run that gave the Blazers a 75-68 lead. Soon it was 79-70, but the Celtics closed the margin to 90-86 after three quarters.
Boston was still within 96-91 when the Blazers scored eight straight points to go in front 104-91. The Celtics cut the edge to 110-104 and had possession with 40 seconds left, but could get no closer.
Portland lost back-to-back games to Philadelphia and Sacramento over the last week. Asked if, as Stotts suggested, the Blazers have overlooked sub-.500 opponents in recent games, Lopez nodded.
“I definitely think that’s possible,” he said. “We can’t let teams come out and be comfortable and feel they can outwork us in the first half.”
The Celtics got out to a 12-6 lead early and extended it to 32-22 behind Bradley and center Kris Humphries, who combined for 21 points in the first quarter. The second of back-to-back 3-pointers by rookie guard C.J. McCollum got Portland within 32-27 heading into the second quarter.
Boston increased its advantage to 47-38 midway through the period, but the Blazers rallied to tie it at 54-54 with 1:30 left before the half.
NOTES: Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge notched his 21st double-double and had his 15th of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. …Aldridge has moved into the top 10 on the franchise career list in most statistical categories, including scoring (fourth), rebounds (fifth) and blocked shots (seventh). With 10,172 career points, he is 233 short of No. 3 Cliff Robinson. … Lopez tied his career high of nine offensive rebounds, which he set against Philadelphia on Jan. 4. … Boston is now 27-25 over the years in Portland, the only team to have a winning record against the Blazers at home. … . … Boston coach Brad Stevens said point guard Rajon Rondo, who has missed the entire season while rehabbing from knee surgery, is “probably a couple of weeks” away from his return. “He can do everything (in practice) now,” Steven said. “It’s a matter of when he feels it’s best” to come back.