Everything you need to know about the Boston Celtics’ 129-119 loss to the Portland Trailblazers, with BSJ insight and analysis:
We deserved better. I’ll have more on this later, but this ending was so absurd that it deserves to be mentioned often. The Celtics and Blazers played about 43 minutes of a great basketball game, and then the last five minutes was an officiating nightmare. The Celtics might still have lost the game, but everyone watching deserved to see something better than that.
On the bright side… Aaron Nesmith stayed hot, and Evan Fournier got hot. Those two combined for 37 points on 14-17 shooting (9-11 3pt).
The Celtics just got beat… but it still hurts. “We had a couple of defensive errors, and they made us pay for every one of them,” Brad Stevens said after the game. “And then we had a lot of great defensive possessions where they made us pay anyways because they’re, like I said, playing really well.”
Give Portland credit, they were hitting some tough shots. They deserved that win. Had the game ended normally with the same score, this would have simply been a “tip your cap” kind of night.
However, this was a rough night overall for Boston as New York and Miami won, pushing Boston down in the 7th seed and the play-in tournament for the time being. The upcoming two-game series against Miami starting Sunday is looking bigger and bigger.
Evan Fournier actually described the turning points perfectly when he said “I thought there were two moments in the game that I thought were momentum breakers. The goaltending was one because they hit two threes after that, and the technical for Marcus. Then Carmelo hits a three and that’s the game right there.”
Tristan Thompson’s goaltending (which was very much not an offensive goaltend), could have put Boston up one. Instead, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony hit 3-pointers to put Portland up 7.
Crew chief Sean Wright was asked after the game about the call, and he said “it is reviewable if Boston uses their coach’s challenge. The challenging team must call a legal timeout and signal for a coach’s challenge. When Coach Stevens calls a timeout, the ball was already put in play with Portland having possession therefore we could not grant Boston a timeout.”
Then Marcus Smart got tossed for what the refs determined to be an intentional shot to Jusuf Nurkic’s groin. That was a long review and a questionable decision, and it left Boston without their best defender for the final 1:56. It was 120-117 Portland at the time, and they ended the game on a 9-2 run .