The Boston Celtics (33-19 Overall, 14-11 Away) visit the Portland Trail Blazers (23-30 Overall, 14-11 Home) tonight for a 10:30 p.m. ET tipoff. The Celtics are second in the NBA Eastern Conference and 3.5 games behind first place Cleveland. The Trail Blazers are ninth is the West and one-half game out of the final playoff sport. In our Boston plays Portland NBA free pick, Portland is -2.0.
Boston is 7-3 for their last 10 and had won seven straight until being defeated last night by Sacramento 108-92. Prior to their away game against the Kings, the Celtics had won four in a row at home beating Detroit 113-109, Toronto 109-104, Los Angeles 113-107, and the LA Clippers 107-102.
Portland is 5-5 for their last 10. Most recently they traveled to Dallas on Feb. 7 where they beat the Mavs 114-113. Prior to that win, they lost two straight. On Feb. 3, Dallas beat the Trail Blazers 108-104 in Portland and then on Feb. 5 Portland travelled to Oklahoma City where they were beat 105-99.
The Celtics will be hampered tonight as they continue on this road trip without SG Avery Bradley (17.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 46 FG%). PG Isaiah Thomas (29.8 PPG, 6.4 APG, 47 FG%), who is known for his fourth quarter scoring prowess, will keep Boston in the game. Center Al Horford (15.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 46 FG%) is a dynamic force in the paint. SF Jae Crowder (14.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 48 FG%) and PF Amir Johnson (6.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 57 FG%) round out the frontcourt. However, it was recently announced that Boston will be without Crowder. PG Marcus Smart (10 PPG, 4.6 APG, 36 FG%) should get the start in Crowder’s place.
Portland Trail Blazers
For Portland, PG Damian Lillard (26.0 PPG, 5.8 APG, 44 FG%) is the team’s top scorer. Also in the backcourt, C.J. McCollum (23.5 PPG, 3.6 APG, 49 FG%) is a top scorer. In the paint, center Mason Plumlee (11.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 53 FG%) and SF Maurice Harkless (10.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 48 FG%) offer fine defensive as well as offensive chops. Plumlee leads the team with 1.15 BPG and Harkless with 1.12 SPG.
Boston Plays Portland NBA Free Pick
The Celtics are four points better on free throw than the Blazers and Portland is committing about two more fouls per game than Boston. Although scoring is fairly even, the Green are a bit better when it comes to limiting opponent points. Boston is in a bind without Bradley. It’s difficult for them to make up for his lost contributions.
When these two teams met in Boston in Jan. 21 the Celtics were victorious in OT 127-123. Boston is without Bradley and Crowder. At this point, they are fairly thin. Our Boston plays Portland NBA free pick is Portland at -2.5.