Tonight is a big game for the Celtics as it will set the tone for a difficult portion of their schedule. Its the first of four games in six days all on the road out west. They play tomorrow night in a back to back in Phoenix and then travel to LA to face the Lakers on Sunday. That's three tough games in four nights, so the C's should try and separate themselves early.
Portland has been playing well despite missing Greg Oden, Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby, and several other players all due to serious injuries. The two teams played a tough game in Boston on December 1st, a 99 - 95 win for the Celtics.
On that night the Cetlics built up a comfortable 16 point lead late in the fourth quarter before giving up a 15 - 0 run by the Blazers cutting the lead to a mere point. Fortunately Ray Allen hit a huge three with 10.7 seconds left to put the C's back up 4 points and won the game.
Matchups to watch:
KG versus LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge has come on strong in a late all star push, without Marcus Camby for tonight Aldridge has to pick up the rebounding slack for the Blazers to make this a game.
Andre Miller versus Rajon Rondo: Miller is a big PG who loves to attack the paint. Rondo and the Celtics help defense have to combine to keep Miller from getting close to the rim where he's a very efficient scorer.
I think the C's carry over their energy from Perkins return against the Cavs and storm out to a big lead on the Blazers. Portland will make a couple of runs to close the gap, but the Celtics will pull away for a 100-92 win that isn't in doubt in the closing minutes.