- The Celtics are favored to prevail over the Blazers even with Jayson Tatum on the sideline
- The Blazers need to do a better job shooting the ball and controlling the boards
- Jaylen Brown is expected to lead Boston against the Trail Blazers
The Boston Celtics visit the reeling Portland Trail Blazers although resident star Jayson Tatum has been listed as doubtful.
Regardless, the Blazers will need to do more if they intend to snap their four-game losing streak.
Portland hosts Boston on Friday, March 17 at the Moda Center but are the underdogs in this matchup.
Oddsmakers pick the Celtics as -4.5 favorites to come out on top with the moneyline set at -190 for Boston and +155 for Portland per USA Today.
The Blazers are on a four-game slide, their last loss of which was at the hands of the New York Knicks, 107-123.
The Knicks, anchored on Immanuel Quickley, rallied in the third quarter to frustrate the Blazers in that matchup.
“We started the game awesome, obviously had a great first quarter, and in the second quarter you could feel it kind of slipping a little bit,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups stated. “They got more aggressive, they got more physical. It felt we caved in a little bit to their aggressive pressure.”
Damian Lillard poured in 38 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in that loss to the Knicks.
Anfernee Simons chipped in 22 markers, while Matisse Thybulle added 15 points.
In that game, the Blazers were outshot on offense, managing only 38.4% from the field. They were also outrebounded by the Knicks, 38-52.
Portland will have its hands full against the Celtics, who are coming off a 104-102 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With Tatum doubtful, the next problem for the Blazers will be Jaylen Brown.
Against the T-Wolves, Brown had 35 points and 10 rebounds. Tatum added 22 markers in that matchup together with 12 boards.
“For us to be able to win games with adversity, it’s going to be key for us,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart stated in the post-game via ESPN. “We’re going to get everybody’s best shot. For us, it’s just to keep playing. Teams are going to go on runs and we’ve just got to do a good job of taking the blow and then delivering our own.”
In their regular season series matchup, the Celtics lead 1-0. They won in their initial matchup last week, 115-93.
The game will be shown over NBC Sports Networks at 10:00 PM ET with live streaming available via fuboTV.
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