Close losses have become all too familiar for the Boston Celtics this season. Once again on Friday night at TD Garden, the Celtics left the crowd disappointed, falling to the Portland Trail Blazers, 109-105.
Jusuf Nurkic led the way for Portland scoring 29 points and collecting 17 rebounds. Friday night marked the fourth consecutive game for Nurkic with a double-double. Meanwhile, CJ McCollum had a solid performance scoring 24 points. Anfernee Simons also chipped in with 21 points.
For Boston, Jayson Tatum led the team with 27 points, seven assists and 10 rebounds, while Jaylen Brown had 22 points and Robert Williams — who returned after missing two games due to the birth of his child — recorded 10 rebounds. Marcus Smart sat out his sixth straight game as he attempts to return from being on the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, while Aaron Nesmith was also out, missing his second game in a row with a sprained right ankle.
This contest was a game of momentum swings with Portland shooting hot out of the gates (10-for-13) to take a 30-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, they significantly cooled down in the second quarter, going 7-for-23.
A 3-point shot right before the buzzer by Brown put the Celtics up 58-54 at the half. With under six minutes left in the game, Boston extended their lead to 11.
But, Portland came storming back, scoring 11 unanswered points to tie the game at 100 apiece with 1:37 left. Jusuf Nurkic went on to score a huge basket in the paint with 13 seconds left to put the Blazers up 105-104. Boston had a chance to reclaim the lead, but a missed three-point attempt by Tatum and tip-in by Robert Williams secured the victory for Portland.
The result for Portland marked just their fifth road win of the season as they improved to 19-26. They will wrap up their road trip out east when they head north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. The loss for Boston is their second in a row as they once again drop below .500 with a record of 23-24. They will now head to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards on Sunday.