After their last second win on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics will jump start a four-game West Coast trip on Friday night against Damian Lillard and the smoking-hot Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers are 22-6 since January 16 and are coming off a 13-game winning streak following a loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. They rank amongst the league’s best in rebounding (#3 @ 45.4 rebounds-per-game) and three-point shooting percentage (#3 @ 38 percent-per-game). And Lillard ranks fifth in the NBA with an impressive 26.6 points-per-game on 44 percent shooting.
Since the All-Star Break back on the third weekend of February, the Celtics are 8-4, and 3-2 on the road. And for the season, they’re 24-10 on the road.
Right now the Trail Blazers (44-27) are stuck in a heated six-team battle for the third spot in the Western Conference.
As for the Celtics (48-23), they’re working on maintaining their hold on a second place finish in the East, without the likes of Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. And right now the magic number for the Celtics to lockdown the two spot is six.
The last time these two teams met, Al Horford knocked down a buzz-beater to give the Celtics a 97-96 win at the TD Garden.
Brown could end up making his return to the C’s lineup on Sunday night in the second of their four-game road trip against the Sacramento Kings, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.
Brown has been out since Thursday, March 8, when he suffered a concussion against the Minnesota Timberwolves following a scary fall from the rim after hammering home a slam dunk.
Okay, so the Celtics are in the mist of getting back one of their three injured players. Awesome. Cool. Great. Well what about Irving and Smart?
Celtics head coach Brad Steven told Himmelsbach on Thursday, that “Kyrie has talked to a couple more people but nothing is concrete.”
And Marcus Smart? Smart spoke with Himmelsbach on Thursday, and said that “he hasn’t started running again yet but hopes to in a few days when the pain medication is decreased.”
With these three players out, Jayson Tatum has really stepped up his game on both ends of the floor.
Over the last five games, he’s averaged 18.4 points-per-game, on 50 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from three. He’s snagging an average of 6.8 rebounds-per-game, while dishing out 2.8 assists. He posted an impressive 23-point, 11-rebound double-double, on 8-of-12 shooting from the field in Tuesday night’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following Friday night’s game against the Trail Blazers, the Celtics will then head to Sacramento to play the twelfth place Kings (24-49) on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m.
After that they will head to Arizona on Monday night for a 10:00 p.m. tip against the Phoenix Suns (19-53), who have lost nine straight and sit in fourteenth place in the West.
And they will finish off the road trip in Salt Lake City against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz (41-31) on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m.
The Celtics will only have three more road games left following this West Coast trip, in addition to four more home games. They’ll play their final home game on Wednesday, April 11, against the Brooklyn Nets.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (48-23) will start a four-game West Coast trip on Friday night against Damian Lillard and the smoking-hot Trail Blazers (44-27). The Trail Blazers are 22-6 since January 16 and they’re just coming off of a 13-game winning streak, after falling to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. Catch the call of Friday’s game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 9:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 10:00 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at email@example.com.