Welcome to the Garden, where the Boston Celtics (30-6) host the Portland Trailblazers (23-14) at 7:30 p.m.
If the Celtics were looking to stop the bleeding after back-to-back losses against the Wizards, the Trailblazers aren’t a great opponent to do it against. Portland is the surprise team in the NBA this season, challenging the best teams in the Western Conference despite losing No. 1 pick Greg Oden to injury before the season even began.
The key to Portland’s success? It has to start with Brandon Roy, the all-everything guard who is averaging 19 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists this season. LaMarcus Aldridge, the forgotten man after the 2006 draft, is averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this year.
As Marc Spears reported earlier in the day, the Celtics will be without point guard Rajon Rondo tonight. The Blazers are an especially tough opponent for the Celtics to be without Rondo, because Roy and Jarret Jack are a handful.
Tony Allen is the likely starter for the Celtics in Rondo’s absence, though Allen will not be playing the point, per se. He’ll share some of the ball-handling duties, but he’s in there for his defense and his scoring ability.
We’ll be live from the Garden all night with reaction from players and coaches. Tune in before or after the game (or even during the game) for some behind-the-scenes notes.