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Celtics hold off Trail Blazers 126-112

Lillard with 41 points, but time running out on Portland’s playoff hopes

By ANNE M. PETERSON, Associated Press
Published: March 17, 2023, 9:50pm
5 Photos
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, prepares to shoot a basket over Portland Trail Blazers forwards Cam Reddish, center, and Drew Eubanks, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 17, 2023.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, prepares to shoot a basket over Portland Trail Blazers forwards Cam Reddish, center, and Drew Eubanks, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, March 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes) Photo Gallery

PORTLAND — Jayson Tatum had 34 points and 12 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics withstood a late Portland rally for a 126-112 victory over the struggling Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Jaylen Brown added 27 points for the Celtics, who have won four of their last five after a three-game losing streak. Boston sits behind NBA-leading Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference.

Damian Lillard finished with 41 points — including 25 in the fourth quarter — for the Blazers, who have lost five straight. At 13th in the West, Portland hasn’t yet been eliminated from the playoffs but time was running out with just 12 games remaining.

Boston led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. Lillard’s 3-pointer pulled Portland within 109-96 and he hit another 3 to close the gap to 111-103.

The teams exchanged free throws before Brown dunked and Al Horford hit a 3-pointer to put Boston up 118-105 with 1:33 left and all but seal the win.

Tatum (hip) and Marcus Smart (non-COVID illness) were questionable before the game but both started for the Celtics. Malcolm Brogdon sat out with right Achilles tendon soreness.

Grant Williams’ 3-pointer put the Celtics up 42-30 in the second quarter. Boston led by as many as 16 in the half to go ahead 63-48 at the break. Tatum led all scorers with 19 points.

The Celtics extended the lead to as many as 19 points in the third quarter.

TIP INS

Celtics: With a steal in the opening quarter, Smart became the fourth Boston player to reach 900 career steals. … It was fourth of a six-game road trip for the Celtics. … The Celtics won the first of the two meetings with the Blazers 115-93 on March 8.

Trail Blazers: Starting forward Jerami Grant missed his second game with a left quad contusion. … The Blazers were also without Nassir Little because of illness. … Portland announced earlier in the day that forward Justise Winslow underwent a bone marrow treatment on his left ankle. He has not played since spraining his ankle in December.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers host the Clippers on Sunday night.

CELTICS 126, BLAZERS 112

BOSTON (126) — Brown 12-23 1-3 27, Tatum 8-20 16-18 34, Horford 4-6 1-2 12, Smart 5-8 2-3 15, White 2-5 8-8 13, Griffin 1-5 0-0 2, Hauser 2-5 0-0 6, Williams 2-7 0-0 6, Kornet 5-8 1-1 11, Davison 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-87 29-35 126.

PORTLAND (112) — Thybulle 4-9 2-2 12, Watford 4-7 0-0 10, Nurkic 2-6 2-3 6, Lillard 12-23 11-14 41, Simons 5-15 5-8 17, Knox II 1-1 0-0 3, Walker 0-2 0-0 0, Eubanks 3-3 0-0 6, Reddish 4-8 1-3 10, Arcidiacono 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Sharpe 3-5 1-1 7. Totals 38-79 22-31 112.

Boston 32 31 26 37—126

Portland 24 24 22 42—112

3-Point Goals—Boston 15-42 (Horford 3-4, Smart 3-6, Hauser 2-4, Brown 2-6, Williams 2-6, Tatum 2-11, White 1-3, Griffin 0-2), Portland 14-38 (Lillard 6-15, Watford 2-3, Thybulle 2-6, Simons 2-7, Knox II 1-1, Reddish 1-3, Sharpe 0-1, Nurkic 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boston 52 (Tatum 12), Portland 37 (Nurkic, Watford 8). Assists—Boston 29 (Horford 10), Portland 20 (Watford 8). Total Fouls—Boston 19, Portland 26. A—19,393 (19,393)

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