Trail Blazers 105, Celtics 84
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The game was only six minutes old, and what the scoreboard showed was shocking: Portland 22; Boston 0.
“I have never been involved in a game before where our team had a 22-0 lead,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said after the Trail Blazers got 27 points and 15 rebounds from Zach Randolph in a 105-84 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
“I think it was a case of us making our shots, and them missing their shots, but it did ignite and inspire our team,” Cheeks said.
Deflated by the huge early deficit, Boston never really got going. The Celtics shot just 35 percent, and was 3-of-18 on 3-pointers.
Boston missed its first 11 shots, having four of them blocked by Portland center Theo Ratliff.
“We dug ourselves such a hole, and created the atmosphere for the whole game,” said Celtics interim coach John Carroll. “I’ve never been on the receiving end of something like that.”
The Celtics had a difficult time penetrating, and Portland shut down Boston leading scorer Paul Pierce, holding him to 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Pierce, who averages 23 points a game, was 1-of-6 on 3-pointers.
Ratliff, who finished with six points and six blocks, has been the catalyst of Portland’s defensive resurgence since being traded to the Blazers from Atlanta on Feb.9.
“I felt that I was a presence down there,” Ratliff said. “They were definitely looking for me, which caused them to miss a lot of shots.”
With a huge cushion, the Blazers looked focused and energetic, shooting 52 percent and recording 28 assists on 38 baskets.
Randolph had eight of Portland’s first 10 points, and ended up shooting 11-of-19.
Walter McCarty hit a 3-pointer with 5:44 left in the first quarter to get Boston on the board.
The Celtics chipped the lead down to 31-16 by the end of the quarter. Portland’s lead was down to 40-27 after Mihm scored on a jump hook, but Stoudamire hit a long 3, and the Blazers were running again. Darius Miles’ alley-oop dunk made it 51-29.
The lead was 69-48 by 5:30 in the third quarter, and after an 18-6 Portland run, it was 87-54.
Blazers guard Derek Anderson has played 26 minutes, after playing over 40 minutes in each of the last five games. …Boston rookie Marcus Banks, a point guard out of UNLV, made his first career start, scoring 10 points and dishing out seven assists. …Center Vladimir Stepania, suffering from the flu,wasn’t with the Trail Blazers.