Matthews scores 24 as Blazers beat Celtics 92-86
Posted at: 02/25/2013 10:08 PM
By ANNE M. PETERSON
(AP) PORTLAND, Ore. - Wesley Matthews had 24 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with less than a minute to go, and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped their longest losing streak of the season at seven games with a 92-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
J.J. Hickson’s hook shot put the Blazers ahead 86-80, but a pair of reverse layups from Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass pulled the Celtics to 86-82 with 2:54 left.
Kevin Garnett’s layup with 1:46 to go tied it, but rookie Damian Lillard answered with his own layup and added a free throw to give Portland back the lead. Matthews, hobbled at times during the game with a sore left leg, hit the step-back 3-pointer that gave the Blazers the final margin with 53.9 seconds left.
Pierce had 23 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who were playing their third game in four nights.
Boston was coming off a 113-88 victory at Phoenix on Friday night. Jeff Green scored 31 points against the Suns while Kevin Garnett was given the night off to rest, but the veteran forward was back in the starting lineup against the Blazers.
Matthews had missed a game with pain in his left leg and ankle but returned to play in Portland’s 111-107 loss to the Lakers on Friday, scoring 15 points. The injury was obviously still bothering him, and he limped badly coming off the court after the third period.
Guard Eric Maynor also made his debut for Portland after coming to the team in a deal with Oklahoma City at the trade deadline.
Maynor, in his fourth NBA season, missed most of last season with a knee injury and then got bypassed in the Thunder’s rotation by second-year guard Reggie Jackson earlier this season. He entered the game late in the first quarter and even played in tandem at times with rookie Lillard, finishing with two points in 15 minutes.
The Celtics jumped out first and led by as many as seven points early but Portland pulled in front on Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer, which made it 18-15. Lillard’s bank shot and free throw gave the Blazers a 38-27 lead midway through the second quarter.
Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer and Garnett made a jumper to pull the Celtics to 41-39 with 1:31 left in the first half. Wesley Matthews answered with consecutive 3-pointers and the Blazers led 47-42 at the break.
Avery Bradley’s fast-break dunk put the Celtics back in front 55-54 with 8:32 left in the third quarter, but the Blazers regained the lead and were ahead 71-67 going into the final period.
The game stayed close until Matthews made a 3-pointer to put Portland ahead 80-73 with 6:53 to go in the game. LaMarcus Aldridge extended the lead with his own 3 that made it 82-74.
Jordan Crawford played 12 minutes but did not score in his second game for the Celtics. He was acquired in a deal with the Washington Wizards at the trade deadline on Thursday, so the Celtics were still working him in.
"He’s a scorer, but we’re going to ask him to do more than that," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Notes: Former Blazers President Larry Miller, now with Nike’s Jordan brand, was at the game, as was former Portland Timbers coach John Spencer and Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore. ... The Celtics fell to 9-4 since losing Rajon Rondo to a season-ending knee injury.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)