Doc Rivers sat in his office in the visitor’s locker room at the Rose Garden staring at the sheet of paper. It was hard to tell if he couldn’t believe the black ink popping off the page or if he was trying to memorize it. Either way, Doc wasn’t happy.
Rivers was quick to credit a Brandon Roy-less Portland after the Blazers beat his struggling Celtics team of late. But Doc still couldn’t get over a call the refs blew (or called brilliantly depending on the team you represent) right before the half on Tuesday night.
I detailed the 10.3 seconds remaining right before the half here after the game courtesy of HOOPSWORLD’s “Courtside Blog.” Tough break Doc.
Here’s the thing: Had that call gone against Boston; had the Celtics scored with six men on the court; had Boston been on the receiving end of that bucket, Portland would shut down like another snow storm hit the city.
No, that’s not how the Blazers beat the Celtics. But let’s be real.
Portland showed up to play while Boston arrived and failed at playing their typical brand head games Kevin Garnett style. The Beantown jawing in early December when the Celtics manhandled the Blazers may have worked then, but Greg Oden – and particularly LaMarcus Aldridge – weren’t having it in Rip City with or without Brandon Roy. And in this case it was “without” Brandon Roy.
A huge win – the last of 2008.
What a way to go out.
(Portland’s “six-on-the-floor” :48 seconds into the highlight.)
pic via: si.com
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Sorry to be a voice of objectivity but it is probably best Portland lost to the Boston Celtics on Friday night. They won’t forget that loss. In fact, it will make the Blazers that much stronger as the season grows older – as the team grows older together.
We are, after all, talking about the Boston Celtics. The NBA Champs. Going into their building and beating them on national television is as difficult as trying to beat the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night at the Staples Center under the bright lights.
Wait a minute.
No doubt about it: these were growing pains. This is a level Portland is trying to reach – a peak already reached by Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. But even by standing on their tip-toes thanks to an impressive six-game-win streak, this was a night where Brandon Roy couldn’t save the day. A night when Greg Oden reached and the Celtics teached. A night when Rudy Fernandez couldn’t hit a three. A night where the Blazers seemed allergic to rebounds. A night where a combined 30 points in the second and third quarter didn’t cut it. A night that Portland will eventually look back on knowing they learned a lot from a big loss in Beantown.
The good news – Sunday is another game.
Toronto – after firing their head coach Sam Mitchell on Thursday and being trounced by the Utah Jazz on Friday night – is a team Portland should beat, even on the Raptors floor. It’s not the loss against Boston they have to worry about now. It’s coming out with a hangover in Toronto. If and how they bounce back will speak volumes about the Blazers.
If not….it could be more tough love.
pic via: nba.com
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