Playing their third road game in four nights, the Boston Celtics travel to Portland (no the other one) to take on the Blazers. After the Celtics furious comeback against the Jazz fell short on Friday, the Celtics find themselves hovering just two games above .500. With Toronto slowly wrapping one Kawhi Leonard-sized hand around the Eastern Conference lead and with the Sixers adding Jimmy Butler over the weekend, the Celtics find themselves under renewed pressure to come up with wins or risk falling to 3rd in their division.
Any discussion of tonight’s game will likely begin with the teams’ two respective floor generals. The Celtics will look to replicate last season’s efforts against Damian Lillard, as the Celtics finished their season series holding the Blazers’ star to 36.6% shooting from the field. On the other side of the coin, the Celtics own point guard Kyrie Irving is currently riding a five game hot-streak, scoring over 29 points per game on a staggering 72.2 TS% over that time.
Blazers sophomore Zach Collins is another name to watch tonight, as he’s a strong start to the season coming off of the Blazers bench and is one of their most efficient scorers. Collins is stretch big who will likely play minutes when Horford is not on the floor, and it will be interesting to see who Stevens tap to guard Collins when back up units are on the floor.
The Celtics will look to end their road trip on a high note before returning home for a three game homestand. With tough back-to-back lurking next week against the Raptors and Jazz, the Celtics put themselves at risk of falling to .500 should they lose tonight. The Celtics are 4-4 on the road including uninspiring close wins against the Suns and Knicks.
Urgency has become the name of the game for the Celtics. Tonight’s as good a time as any to show some.
PG - Kyrie Irving – Damian Lillard
SG - Jaylen Brown – CJ McCollum
SF - Gordon Hayward – Jake Layman
PF - Jayson Tatum – Al-Farouq Aminu
C - Al Horford – Jusuf Nurkic
Boston – Daniel Theis (Foot); Jabari Bird (Personal)
Portland - Maurice Harkless (Knee)
How to Watch
Time - 9:00 PM EST
TV - NBC Sports Boston; NBC Sports Northwest