Blazers’ victory adds to Celtics’ woes

The Associated Press /

Published Jan 12, 2014 at 12:01AM

PORTLAND — For a second consecutive game, the Portland Trail Blazers wiped out a poor first-half performance with a big rally after the break.

For the time being, Blazers coach Terry Stotts is all right with that formula.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 13 rebounds Saturday night as the Portland Trail Blazers handed the Boston Celtics their eighth straight loss, 112-104.

“I like being a second half team. Given the choice I’d rather be a second half team,” Stotts said. “But we’re still a work in progress. There’s room for improvement (and) we aren’t a finished product. We’ve got to continue to grow incrementally.”

Earlier this week, Portland trailed Orlando by six points at halftime then outscored the Magic 65-43 to pull away for the win.

Boston was Portland’s fifth consecutive opponent with a losing record. The Blazers are only 3-2 during this stretch, and in all but one game they struggled during the first half.

“Playing teams with a lesser record is apparently tough for us to get up for, but in the end it’s good to get a win,” Stotts said.

Wesley Matthews scored 18 points and Nicolas Batum had 16 for Portland. Damian Lillard and Robin Lopez each had 15 points. Lopez also had 13 rebounds.

“It’s been a trend like this for the last month. We’re getting every team’s best shot, so we have to act accordingly,” Matthews said. “We have the record of an elite team and we have to act that way.”

The win kept Portland tied for first place with Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division.

The Celtics have lost their past three games to the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State and Portland, all by single digits.

“You’ve got a shot to win against three contenders for the west but, at the same time, those droughts are killing us,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “I think we can get better in those. But I’m trying to figure what it is because we’re really playing at such a high level the whole rest of the time. That’s the encouraging part.”

Avery Bradley led Boston (13-25) with 25 points. The Celtics, who have lost 11 of 12, shot 62 percent during the first half, but only 34 percent after halftime.

Jared Sullinger had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. Sullinger scored 26 points when the two teams played at Boston in November.

Portland took control during the third quarter, when the Blazers took their first lead of the game. The 32-point quarter included a run of 13 consecutive points that staked Portland to a 77-68 lead.

The Trail Blazers led by as many as 13 points midway through the fourth quarter, then held off a late Celtics run to win their second consecutive game.

In other games on Saturday:

Pistons 110, Suns 108: AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Josh Smith’s driving, left-handed bank shot with 1.2 seconds left gave Detroit a win over Phoenix.

Rockets 114, Wizards 107: WASHINGTON — Houston built a 25-point lead, lost all of it and then some, then rallied from five down late in the fourth quarter to defeat Washington in a game twice delayed by leaks in the roof.

Knicks 102, 76ers 92: PHILADELPHIA — Amare Stoudemire scored 21 points and Carmelo Anthony added 18 to lead New York over Philadelphia.

Raptors 96, Nets 80: TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points, Patrick Patterson had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Toronto snapped Brooklyn’s five-game winning streak.

Bulls 103, Bobcats 97: CHICAGO — D.J. Augustin had 20 points and 12 assists and Joakim Noah added 19 points and 14 rebounds to help streaking Chicago beat Charlotte for its fifth straight victory.

Thunder 101, Bucks 85: OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 33 points after missing his first eight shots and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 17 rebounds to help Oklahoma City beat Milwaukee to snap a two-game skid.

Mavericks 110, Pelicans 107: DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points, and Dallas recovered from a cold start to beat New Orleans for its second win in as many days against the Pelicans.

Nuggets 120, Magic 94: DENVER — Kenneth Faried had 17 points and nine rebounds, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier scored 18 points apiece, and Denver beat Orlando.