Trail Blazers vs Celtics Sunday, 02/24/13 AT 06:00PM

Trail Blazers Welcome New Face, Host Celtics On 70's Night

02/24/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    On Sunday evening the Trail Blazers (25-30) welcome the Boston Celtics (29-26) to the Rose Garden for their second and final meeting of the season. It will also be 70's night at the Rose Garden and tip-off is set for 6PM on KGW. It can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM. The Trail Blazers will be looking to snap a 7-game loosing streak.

        •    Eric Maynor completed his first practice with the Trail Blazers on Saturday and Terry Stotts has already indicated what his role will be going forward stating "He's our back-up." Stotts also said he feels comfortable playing him in Sunday's game. As for Maynor, the crash course began with a DVD of the Trail Blazers offensive sets that he was given upon arrival.  "We play tomorrow so, come in here, learned all the plays really. Just getting acquainted with the guys and stuff like that. It's been good, real smooth," Maynor said. He also said he wasn't surprised at all with the Trail Blazers, as he is now on his third team, he believes that most NBA offenses are similar. "Everybody in the league runs the same thing, really. Just different calls. Not to much surprises. I've been in the league for four years, I know exactly what they run." Damian Lillard, whom Maynor will be backing up, says that he can learn a lot from the newest Trail Blazer in addition to making the load he has to carry lighter. "I think, because of the type of team that he comes from (Oklahoma City), playing with coaches he is used to being around (David Vanterpool worked in OKC and Dale Osborne was an assistant for the Thunder's D-League affiliate in Tulsa last year) and his experience. Especially being a point guard in the league for a few years, he can not only help me running things but allowing me to come out of the game more." Lillard also said that Maynor was not afraid to speak up in his first practice with the team. It appears that the learning curve for Maynor has been a sharp one, but one that he is no doubt prepared for.  Lillard has played some minutes at the two-guard already this season and that will certainly happen with Maynor on the team as well. Having his presence against a veteran team like the Celtics is certainly a positive and he already has the trust of his teammates and coaches.
      
     •    The Celtics are coming off a dominant win in Phoenix and had a similar performance against the Trail Blazers in their meeting in Boston. They dictated the flow of the game early with their trademark smothering defense and didn't allow the Trail Blazers to get into their game. They faced the Trail Blazers during what Damian Lillard called a "rough stretch," after their loss to the Washington Wizards in DC. A 31-15 second quarter gave the Celtics a 23-point halftime lead and they never looked back. The Trail Blazers eventually lost 96-78 and as has often been the case with Trail Blazers blowouts, only LaMarcus Aldridge had a good offensive night, scoring 23 points on 8-16 shooting. The rest of the Trail Blazers struggled all night and they only attempted 16 three-pointers, seven below their season average. Life is hard for a perimeter oriented team without one of their biggest weapons. Jeff Green, who is coming off an efficient 31-point, 14-shot performance on Friday, scored 19 off the bench in the previous game to lead the Celtics. Also, the Celtics were without Rajon Rondo in their previous game, so there's no difference there. However, the Celtics have added a couple of guards to their roster as they signed Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract and traded the injured Leandro Barbosa to Washington for Jordan Crawford. Crawford, you may recall, hit the game-winner for the Wizards in their win in Portland on Martin Luther King Jr. day.
       
    •    As the losses keep mounting during the losing streak, the amount of games Portland has to make up to catch Houston for the eighth seed only increases. Lillard stated on Saturday that the Trail Blazers faced the Celtics in the midst of another rough stretch during their season-long seven-game road trip. However, Lillard believes that being in front of the home crowd will help the Trail Blazers get off on the right foot, something they didn't do in Boston and something they have struggled with throughout the year.  "It was on their home floor, we was in a rough stretch ourselves. Now I think we are a better team and it's going to be on our home floor so I think it will be a completely different game." Lillard's confidence is a welcome sight but not one that's all that surprising. The Trail Blazers need wins, and fast. Stotts said the focus of Saturday's practice was on integrating Maynor and focusing on what they need to do rather than the Celtics themselves. Meyers Leonard, Will Barton and Victor Claver (playing at power forward) all turned in solid contributions off the bench in Los Angeles and one can only hope that progress can continue into Sunday. But, it will be tough as the Celtics boast the league's fifth best defense.

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