Celtics hope to halt losing streak against Blazers
(Sports Network) – The Boston Celtics try and put the brakes on a six-game
losing streak this evening when they open a three-game homestand against the
Portland Trail Blazers at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Celtics latest loss came on Monday, as they dropped a 114-98 decision to
the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. Paul Pierce had 31 points to lead
Boston, which has dropped seven of its last contests.
Raef LaFrentz added 18 points for the Celtics, who last found the win column
on January 27 and are enduring their worst stretch since losing seven in a row
from February 9-25, 2004.
Pierce, who is averaging 34.0 points in his last two games, was rewarded for
his strong play on Thursday when he was named as a reserve on the Eastern
Conference All-Star team.
On the injury front, starting center Kendrick Perkins dislocated his shoulder
in practice on Wednesday and is expected to miss tonight’s contest. Also, Al
Jefferson will likely be shelved up until after the All-Star break because of
a sprained ankle.
The Celtics, who will close their stand with visits from Orlando and
Cleveland, are 14-11 in their arena this season.
Portland, meanwhile, also comes in on a losing note after getting destroyed by
the injury-depleted Indiana Pacers, 101-69, on Wednesday at Conseco
Zach Randolph led Portland with 25 points, but did most of his damage from the
free throw line, as he drained 13-of-16 from the stripe and the club made 26-
of-36 on the night.
However, the team shot just 26.7 percent from the floor and Sebastian Telfair
with 11 points and Travis Outlaw with 10 were the only two players to join
Randolph in double figures.
The starting backcourt of Maryland Terrapin products, Steve Blake and Juan
Dixon, combined to make just 2-of-13 from the floor in Portland’s second
straight defeat and third in four tries.
Portland, which is in the midst of a seven-game road trip, is 5-17 away from
home this season.
The Blazers split their two matchups with Celts last season and could have the
advantage tonight, as the road team in this series has won seven of the last
10 meetings. Portland has also won seven of 10 in Beantown.