Rondo-less Celtics rout Trail Blazers
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics did just fine in their first game without Rajon Rondo, with Jeff Green scoring a season-best 19 points off the bench to lead the way in a 96-78 rout of the cold-shooting Portland Trail Blazers at TD Garden.
Jason Terry added 17 points as Boston easily overcame the absence of its All- Star point guard, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for fighting with Brooklyn's Kris Humphries in Wednesday's 95-83 home loss to the Nets.
Paul Pierce amassed 12 points and eight rebounds to help the Celtics to their third victory in four games and sixth consecutive triumph over Portland.
"It shows good character for our team," said Boston's Courtney Lee, who tallied 10 points and five assists while starting in Rondo's place. "We got beat bad on our own court [on Wednesday] then we went to practice, had a real tough practice. [Head coach] Doc [Rivers] was on us the whole time, so we wanted to come in and protect home court, because we can't keep letting teams come in and beat us on our home court."
LaMarcus Aldridge was the lone bright spot in an otherwise brutal offensive display for the Trail Blazers. Portland shot just 34.8 percent overall and went 3-of-15 from 3-point range, while committing 23 turnovers as well to fall to 0-4 on its current 7-game road trip.
Aldridge paced all players with 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Having Rondo, a four-time All-NBA Defensive Team honoree, unavailable didn't have much of an effect against the off-target Blazers, who went a woeful 2- of-14 from the field in the second quarter and trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half.
Boston began the game with a 9-2 run and opened up a 17-7 lead on Terry's second-chance jumper with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Celtics carried a 25-18 edge into the second period, then started to pull away in a stanza that featured more offensive ineptitude from Portland.
The Celtics scored the first nine points of the session, the last seven of which came from Green, then later put together a 7-0 spurt ignited by a Terry triple to build a comfortable 41-22 advantage just past the midway point of the frame.
"Boston came out really aggressive," said Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "Doc called them a soft team and they came out aggressive. And they were very aggressive with their pick and rolls. They had us on our heels for the first two quarters and it took us a while to regroup."
Portland continued to miss shots, and Boston opened up a commanding 56-31 lead on Pierce's trey with 19.3 seconds left in the half before the Blazers' Nicolas Batum ended the quarter by making a pair of free throws.
Boston shot a solid 56.8 percent over the first two quarters, while Portland hit on only 23.3 percent (7-of-30) of its attempts and turned the ball over 11 times.
"Our defense was fantastic," said Rivers. "We did a couple things different, trapping, it was great. And then the ball movement was terrific as well in the first half."
The Trail Blazers did manage to cut into the deficit in the third quarter, with Damian Lillard accounting for six points of a 10-2 flurry over the final 2 1/2 minutes that brought the visitors within 75-59.
Portland trimmed the margin to 15 points on two occasions early in the fourth quarter, but a 10-2 Boston run highlighted by back-to-back long-distance baskets by Leandro Barbosa and Green put the contest out of reach entering the last six minutes.
Rondo will complete his suspension when the Celtics visit Milwaukee on Saturday ... Portland hasn't bested the Celtics since a 91-86 home win on Dec. 30, 2008 and has now dropped nine in a row on the road in this series, having last prevailed in Boston on Mar. 31, 2004 ... Blazers rookie center Meyers Leonard finished with 11 points in 22 minutes off the bench ... Boston recalled forward Kris Joseph from Maine of the NBDL prior to the game, with the rookie scoring two points in five minutes.
12/01 00:05:57 ET