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Portland Trail Blazers beat Boston handily but miss out on statement win

The Portland Trail Blazers took care of business at home in the Moda Center against the Boston Celtics, winning 100-94.

The Portland Trail Blazers improve to 10-3 on the year as they beat the Boston Celtics at home, 100-94. Rip City is quickly establishing itself as one of the better teams in the league. While in the earlier part of this young season, Portland was defeating bottomfeeders or half-strength opponents, they have begun taking care of fully-loaded contenders.

Boston has been a favorite to win the East since they showed off what all their bench could do in the playoffs last year. The first half of this game, the Blazers made them look more akin to the Orlando Magic.

The Blazers were playing beautiful basketball, sharing the rock and driving aggressively inside. Nurkic had a double-double at the end of the second with 14 points and 10 rebounds. CJ McCollum was playing smart. The Blazers were up by 17.

But in the third and fourth, the Blazers began to let go of the rope. They gave up several 10-0 and more runs to let the Celtics get right back into the game. At one point, they even tied the game after being down by as much as 21 points.

The biggest backbreakers for the Blazers: turnovers and panic-threes.

Whether it was careless passes or loose dribbling, Portland found a multitude of ways to fumble the ball in the second half. They ended the game losing the turnover battle 21 to 12…

And the Blazers made the game much closer than it needed to be on their own in the form of early pull-up threes. Gone were the aggressive pick-and-roll plays where the ball-handler would force his way inside to put pressure on the defense both with the roller and kick-outs on the corners. Now, Dame or CJ would take the screen and launch a bomb from two steps back beyond the arc.

They’re able to make these, but these were not the kinds of shots that got Portland so far ahead on what is considered such an elite team.

The Blazers were able to rekindle some of the ball-movement from the first half occasionally. When they did, they took better control of the contest:

Had the club continued executing down the stretch and handily blown out this Boston team, the Blazers could’ve put this game in the books as a statement win. One that rumbles throughout the league that everyone else should take this team seriously: first Milwaukee, then the Celtics.

But for now, it’ll just stand as a good win.

Dame went for 19 points and 12 assists. CJ added 14. Nurkic ended with 18 points and 17 rebounds. And Zach Collins was a monster on the offensive glass, ending with five offensive boards and eight rebounds altogether.

The group was solid. And for 24 minutes, they throttled one of the association’s most hyped teams. Now, I want to see this Blazers team keep the pedal to the metal against any and every team and execute their game for all 48.

Next: Evan Turner wants to win, not start

See if the Blazers can do just that next time against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 14 at 7:30 P.S.T.

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