The Jackson 5’s “I Want you Back” blared from the Garden’s sound system early in the second half.
If you listened closely, you could hear Ray Allen singing “Oh baby give me one more chance” right along with the group. It was his theme song tonight.
The struggling Allen seemed to take facing emerging star Brandon Roy as a personal challenge. Using an array of drives early in the game and a couple of deep daggers late, Allen had 35 points and went punch-for-punch with Roy as the Celtics snapped their two-game losing streak tonight at the Garden.
A clip from the movie ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ played on the Jumbotron late in the fourth quarter as the Celtics clung to a slim lead. It wasn’t American Bandstand, but the clip, along with a couple of middle-aged men getting down to Jamiroquai, energized the crowd.
Boston’s defense helped as well.
The Celtics played suffocating defense virtually the entire night, forcing Portland into 21 turnovers. The Trailblazers shot 46 percent but never seemed to be in an offensive rhythm.
But 13 missed free throws by the Celtics allowed the Trailblazers to stay in the game until the end.
Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 7 rebounds for the Celtics. Four players (Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jarrett Jack, and Travis Outlaw) broke double-figures for Portland. Roy led the Blazers with 22.
Playing without Rajon Rondo, the Celtics got enthusiastic play from Eddie House and Gabe Pruitt at the point. House finished with 10 points and 5 assists, while Pruitt’s 13 minutes tied a season-high.
The Celtics return home Friday night to play the Sixers. They’re on the road Monday afternoon against the Knicks.
We’ll have plenty of postgame reaction from both locker rooms in a bit.