-- Celtics 57.9% field goal shooting season high vs. Portland (old 56.4% at N.O. 11/2) -- Celtics 14 three-pointers and 66.7% (14-21) from long range both season highs vs. Blazers
-- 65 second-half points by Celtics season high for half vs. Blazers
-- Blazers 32 points high for 1st quarter this season (previous 31 vs. Raptors 12/19)
-- Travis Outlaw’s 24 points third time in four games +20 coming off bench, averaging 23.0 ppg in last four
-- 20,554 fans Blazers 15th consecutive sellout and 20th of the season.
“Boston’s play seemed very similar to the way they played in Boston. This time Paul Pierce was hot. He didn’t have that good a shooting night back there. But any one of those three of those all-stars (Allen, Pierce, Garnett) are capable of carrying the team. Allen and Posey can spread the floor with their perimeter game and that puts a lot of pressure on the defense.
“That team knows how to mentally get back into the game. After we had that great first quarter they just stuck with it and ended up scoring over 30 points in the next three quarter. We want to get to that point where you can be down and be calm about it, play with poise and stay calm.
“I put Raef (LaFrentz) in the rotation and played Joel more again to try to improve our rebounding but we’re still getting pounded on the board. Boston is just stronger than we are. Their pressure and physical play was just taking us out of the game. And offense, with Brandon out with the ankle sprain, we don’t have a lot of players to make up the difference. At all the positions, with Garnett playing L.A. (Aldridge) and Posey on Travis and Pierce on Roy in the beginning you don’t have an advantage on the offensive end. You certainly can see why their record is so good and they’re getting sharp for the playoffs.”
“They stepped up and played well. We started slow in the third quarter which gave them momentum and we couldn’t recover from it. When we are making shots we are tough to beat. That’s what we were doing---making shots---when we were winning all those games. Lately the shots haven’t been falling as much for an entire game.”
About the mood in the locker room: “We are upset that we are losing but we’ve been in this situation before at the beginning of the year when we were losing tons of games. We just have to find a way to fight through it.
About his sprained ankle: “It seems like its getting worse and its not getting any better. So tonight its was just a little too painful to continue to try to play through it . . . I hope its just a sprain, I hope its nothing more serious than that. Earlier I took some medicine and that was helping. But today it didn’t do anything for me. I was warming up and it just felt bad. It felt bad the whole game and by the third quarter Rajon (Rondo) tripped over it and was too painful to try to continue . . . It is pretty painful so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Maybe a week or two of rest would help. We’ll see and we’ll talk about it after we know what the MRI says . . . Its not badly swollen but its very painful.
“At the start we played good basketball. The guys played good basketball throughout the game but I wasn’t able to make some of the plays I normally try to make to help us get leads or maintain leads. I was upset the whole game, even when we were up by 16, because I knew there was nothing I could do out there.
“It was just great defense. They had 32 points in the first quarter…the defense from that point on was phenomenal. It was our energy. We eased into the game and they came out excited and attacked us. We didn’t handle it very well. We’ve talked about how teams are fired up to play you and you have to match that to start games. This is a dangerous team to get down to on the road. We were down 17 at one point and then at one point to have a 18 or 19 point lead, that’s impressive. It was our defense. Our offense was fine, but it was our defense that won the game.”
(On three-point shooting)
“We’ll take 14 even it means taking more than 21 shot attempts. We got good looks though. It wasn’t like we were forcing it up and it wasn’t like we were looking for threes. We got the threes out of ball movement. We got the ball into the post and then got it out. Those are good threes’… the type of three’s we want to take. We’ve got guys capable of making them and that’s the right way to take them.”
“They got up early but we cut their offensive rebounds out. We started to contest shots. We got some easy looks on the other end. We made them guard. We got good looks. When you get in your rhythm it’s a whole lot better. You feel better about yourself and your feel better about your shots. When you get them in the rhythm of the game, more than likely you’re going to knock those shots down. When you don’t, it’s more hit and miss and that point.”
“Our defensive intensity is something that was missing the last couple of games for the most part. For a quarter and a half of this game it was still missing. But we found a way to win the game and get stops. We controlled the boards during the run and got ourselves back in the ball game. On the offensive end we shared the basketball. We made it easy on ourselves on the offensive end and we got ourselves back in the game. They had energy at the start and everything was going their way. They were shooting a high percentage and they were crashing the boards at both ends. They got more opportunities. Once we were able to control that, it was a whole different ball game. When we move the basketball we’re a great team. When we don’t we suffer a bit. During that stretch we moved the basketball and got good shots. Tonight they feel for us and we were able to get a win.”