at Portland Trail Blazers (30-37) at Boston Celtics (43-22)
Sunday, August 2, 2020
3:30 PM ET
Seeding Game #2
TV: ABC, NBCSB, NBCSNW
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, Rip City 620 AM
The ArenaProbable Starting Matchups
Kemba Walker vs Damian Lillard
Jaylen Brown vs CJ McCollumSmall Forward
Gordon Hayward vs Carmelo AnthonyPower Forward
Jayson Tatum vs Zach Collins Center
Daniel Theis vs Jusuf NurkicCeltics Reserves
None Head Coach
Brad StevensTrail Blazers Reserves
Gary Trent, Jr
Jaylen Adams (back) day to day
Trevor Ariza (personal) NWT
Caleb Swanigan (personal) NWT
Rodney Hood (Achilles) NWTHead Coach
The Celtics second seeding opponent is the Portland Trail Blazers. This is the second and final game between these two teams. They played on February 25 in Portland and the Celtics came away with a 118-106 win. That game wasn't a good measuring stick for either team since the Celtics didn't have Kemba or Robert Williams while the Blazers were without Damian Lillard, Zach Collins, and Jusuf Nurkic.
The Blazers have much more to play for in this game since they are still scrapping to make the playoffs. They are currently in 9th place in the West, 2.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies and half a game ahead of the tenth place San Antonio Spurs. They helped themselves with a win over the Grizzlies in their first seeding game, shaving a game off the Grizzlies' lead for the 8th spot.
The Celtics are in 3rd place but need to play well to stay there. They are 3.5 games behind the Raptors for second place but are just 1.5 games ahead of the 4th place Heat who won their first seeding game while the Celtics lost their first seeding game. The Blazers are 13-11 vs Eastern Conference teams while the Celtics are 16-11 vs the West.
The Celtics still remain healthy with no one on the injury list. Kemba Walker is still on a minutes restriction, however. For the Trail Blazers, Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan both opted to skip the season restart and are not with the team. Rodney Hood is still recovering from an Achilles injury and is also not with the team. Jaylen Adams is day to day with a back injury.
Jaylen Brown vs CJ McCollum
McCollum is half of Portland's one-two offensive punch. He is averaging 22.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. He is shooting 45.7% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. In his first Bubble game, he finished with 33 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 46 minutes.
Kemba Walker vs Damian Lillard
Both of these players missed the first game between these two teams so this is their first matchup. While Kemba is expected to be on a minutes restriction once again, Lillard is coming off a game in which he played 45 minutes on Friday night. He finished that game with 29 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. He is averaging 28.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.8 assists and is shooting 45.7% from the field and 39.2% from beyond the arc. Honorable Mention
Daniel Theis vs Jusuf Nurkic
Nurkic also missed the first game between these two teams. He finished Friday's game with 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2 steals and 6 blocks. The win over Memphis on Friday was Nurkic's first game this season as he had been out for a year and a half with a leg injury. He shot 45.5% from the field and did not attempt a 3 pointer. Keys to the Game Defense
- Defense is a key to winning every game. The Celtics have to continue to play tough defense in order to get a win. The Celtics are 11th, averaging 113 points per game while the Blazers average 114 points (8th). The Celtics are 4th in the league with a defensive rating of 106.3 while the Blazers are 27th with a defensive rating of 113.6. The Celtics especially have to defend the perimeter as the Blazers are 3rd in the league shooting 37.3% from beyond the arc. Rebound
- The Celtics must make an extra effort to grab rebounds in order to give themselves extra possessions as well as to keep the Blazers from cashing in with second chance points. The Blazers average 45.4 rebounds per game (11th) while the Celtics average 46 rebounds per game (9th). The Celtics must work harder on the boards if they want to win this one. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be the team that works harder and wants the win more. They have to dive for loose balls, go for every rebound and just hustle on every play on both ends of the court. They have to be aggressive in getting to the basket as well and not settle for outside shots, especially if they aren't falling. Jayson Tatum
- The Celtics need Jayson Tatum to play better than he did against the Bucks. He seemed to lack energy in that game and he shot 2-18 from the field (with one of those 2 baskets actually scored by Giannis) and was 0-4 on three pointers. Hopefully he will shake off whatever was ailing him and come out strong in this game. The Celtics need his scoring. X-Factors Fatigue
- I know it sounds strange to mention fatigue when both teams have played just one game in the past 4 months but it just may be a factor. In Friday's game, Lillard and McCollum played 45 and 46 minutes respectively. None of their starters played fewer than 33 minutes. Terry Stotts played only 8 players even though that game went into overtime. On the other hand, Brad Stevens used 10 players with Gordon Hayward playing the most at 34 minutes.
- After Friday's game everyone should realize how much of an x-factor the officials can be. The referees in that game made some very egregious calls/no calls down the stretch that completely changed the momentum of that game. They also called 68 total fouls in the game so the game had no flow. We can only hope that these refs will call the game fairly and let them play.