Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illini adventure continues

Blake, short-handed Trail Blazers beat Celtics

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[December 31, 2008]  PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Steve Blake had 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 and the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers beat the Boston Celtics 91-86 Tuesday night, sending the NBA champions to their third loss in four games.

CivicPlaying without All-Star guard Brandon Roy, the Blazers snapped a seven-game losing streak against Boston and pulled into a tie atop the Northwest Division with Denver. Reserve forward Travis Outlaw had 17 points for Portland and Greg Oden added 13 points and 11 rebounds despite injuring his ankle in practice Monday.

Paul Pierce scored 28 points, making 14 of 15 foul shots, and Kevin Garnett had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics (28-5), who have more losses since Dec. 25 than in the previous two months of the season.

Boston had a franchise-record 19-game winning streak stopped by the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas and lost to Golden State the next night. The Celtics bounced back with a 108-63 win over Sacramento, and they hadn't lost to Portland since Dec. 9, 2004.

Rajon Rondo had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Ray Allen added 12 points for the Celtics.

With Roy out with a pulled hamstring, Portland was missing its captain and leading scorer. But the Blazers were the more aggressive team, outrebounding Boston 44-29. Led by Outlaw, Portland's bench scored 29 points. Boston lost the lead in the third and didn't get it back.


Pierce made five free throws to get Boston to 85-83, but Outlaw drove the ball and jammed it over Garnett on the other end. Pierce completed a three-point play for Boston, but Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez each made two free throws to put the game away for the Blazers, who are 12-3 at the Rose Garden this season.

Boston led 27-14 in the second quarter after a 14-3 run. Blake, whose 13 points in the first half led all scorers, hit a running 20-footer to get the Blazers within six, and Portland trailed 45-40 at halftime after Outlaw scored twice.

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Oden scored to tie the game at 49 early in the third. Boston built a seven-point lead after Rondo made a 3-pointer and two free throws, but Portland went on an 17-4 run that Aldridge capped with a breakaway dunk to put the Blazers up 70-64.

Blake made with a 3 with 5:03 left in the game and Portland led by seven.

Notes: Portland picked up a technical foul at the end of the first half for having six players on the court. Garnett and Aldridge were called for double technicals in the tense final minute of the game. Garnett elbowed Aldridge after a free throw and Aldridge responded by slapping Garnett in the head. Boston made 29 of 31 free throws (93 percent).

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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