The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips as Portland Trail Blazers attempt to halt in-form Boston Celtics’ recent run.
12:00 (AEST), Wed 14th Apr @ Moda Center, Portland
History: Played 116: Celtics 69 V Trail Blazers 47
Last meeting: August 2, 2020: Celtics 128 d Trail Blazers 124 at TD Garden
Final Thoughts: Portland Trail Blazers are striving for some traction after a difficult start to the month, while Boston Celtics are have emerged as one of the form teams in the East since calendar flipped over into April.
The 31-22 Trail Blazers are sixth in the West but have lost four of their last six games. They were humbled 107-98 at home by the Heat two days ago – only the fourth time this season they have failed to score 100 points.
Linchpin Damian Lillard racked up just 12 points and 3 assists; he averages 28.7 and 7.6 respectively. Jusuf Nurkic (6 pts, 9 reb) returned to the starting line-up, despite Enes Kanter pulling down a franchise-record 30 rebounds in Portland’s previous game, a 118-103 win over Detroit.
Celtics on a roll
The 28-26 Celtics won just four of their first 12 games after the All-Star Break. But they have won five of their last six, with only a loss to the conference-leading 76ers against their name.
Boston claimed the scalp of the NBA-best Nuggets two days ago, romping to a 105-87 result in Denver. The Celtics trailed by five at three-quarter time but went on an incredible 31-3 run in the last term.
Jayson Tatum, who scored a career-high 53 points in an OT victory over the Timberwolves two days earlier, starred with 28 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics are knocking on the door of the top-six in the logjammed East.
The Celtics have won five of their last seven against the Blazers, including three of the last four encounters in Portland. Jayson Tatum led Boston to a 118-106 victory at Moda Center last season with 36 points.
The Trail Blazers are 16-11 at home (11-16 ATS) but have won only two of their last six at Moda Center. The Celtics are just 11-16 on the road – overall and against the spread. But they have won their last three away, including upsets in Milwaukee and Denver.
Boston are narrow underdogs, but they seem to have flicked a switch and their momentum is hard to overlook with Portland in a bit of a funk.
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