Blazers beat Celtics for fifth straight win

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- The Portland Trail Blazers are 7-2 in this young NBA season, but their players think the record could be even better.
"We can't be satisfied with it; we still feel we had a chance to be undefeated," guard Wes Matthews said after his team cruised to a 109-96 victory over the Celtics on Friday night, the Blazers' fifth straight win and their first victory in Boston since 2004.
"We laid an egg against Phoenix in the opener and we got outplayed a little bit in Houston, but we stuck with it, beat some good teams and this road swing is important for us," Matthews said.
Portland began a four-game road trip Friday night, and rode big man LaMarcus Aldridge's 27 points and 12 rebounds and a balanced attack to hand the Celtics their second straight loss after a four-game winning streak that included a road win at Miami.
"Yeah, easily could be (undefeated) but we've learned from those two losses," Aldridge said. "We're just trying to keep getting better."
Coach Terry Stotts was particularly happy for veterans Aldridge and forward Nicolas Batum (18 points, 10 in the third quarter, six assists and five rebounds), as Portland ended a nine-game losing streak at the Garden.
"We had some really good games here, some close games early, and then they got the Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) and they kind of dominated for a few years, so this is my first win here," said Aldridge, who delivered his fourth straight double-double.
"We want to keep this winning streak going so that is one of the reasons we needed this game," said Batum, who went 4-for-10 from 3-point range.
Guard Mo Williams came off the bench with 18 points and eight assists in 30 minutes, while guard Damian Lillard had 17 points and six of his team's 18 turnovers and Matthews added 13 points.
The attack overshadowed a career-high 26 points (and eight rebounds) by Boston forward/center Jared Sullinger, who came off the bench after missing a game with a bruised knee.
Sullinger even went 2-for-4 from 3-point range, after coming into the game 3-for-15 from behind the arc in his 53-game NBA career.
"We talked about it before the game -- he's probably our best post player," said Boston coach Brad Stevens, who fell to 4-6 as an NBA coach. "And so we have to figure out a way to utilize it better."
"We gotta win," Sullinger said. "We gotta win. Gotta get a win. Gotta get a win. That's the mindset. Every game is a pride game."
The Celtics lost their second straight after a four-game winning streak that included a road win at Miami.
Forward Jeff Green added 14 points for Boston but made just 4-for-11 shots from the field. Guard Jordan Crawford had 11 points (just 4-for-12 shooting), five assists and four rebounds.
The Celtics got 3-pointers from Sullinger and guard Courtney Lee to cut a 14-point deficit to eight, but got no closer.
The Trail Blazers, who did trail by eight in the second quarter after leading by eight in the first, came in shooting 42.2 percent from 3-point range. And it was the 3-pointer that gave Portland its six-point halftime lead. The Blazers had hit only two in the first 21 1/2 minutes but made three of them late in the half.
The Blazers hit two more in the first 5:07 of the third quarter to lead by seven and finished the night with nine 3-pointers while going 20-for-22 from the foul line.
Celtics rookie center Kelly Olynyk was in foul trouble almost immediately and was limited to 6:29 in the first half. He started the second half with three fouls and got his fourth 29 seconds into the third quarter before departing again.
Olynyk played 15 minutes and had two points and two rebounds. He came into the game averaging 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.
NOTES: The Trail Blazers continue their four-game trip in Toronto Sunday before going on to Charlotte and then to Brooklyn. The Celtics left after the game for a three-game trip that starts in Minnesota Saturday night before they hit Texas for games against Houston and San Antonio. ... Portland F-C LaMarcus Aldridge, who had had four straight double-doubles, registered only his third in 13 career games against the Celtics. ... Blazers C Robin Lopez grabbed 10 rebounds.

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