PORTLAND, Ore. — The Celtics limp home after going predictably 0-5 on the West Coast road swing, though losing the final three games by a combined 16 points.
They played hard, shot well and put a scare into the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night at Moda Center before losing 112-104. They are now 13-25 having lost eight straight games and their visions of competing for the Atlantic Division title are becoming fainter by the way.
The Celtics are now 1/2 game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for last place in the division and haven’t won a game since Dec. 28, a span of 15 days. They played better after Gerald Wallace chided the team for lack of effort following a 31-point loss at Denver but they were still out-executed down the stretch.
Boston shot 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter as the combination of Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger were 2-for-14 shooting for 5 points. The Celtics grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter but by then it was too late. Portland scored 31 of its points on second-chance baskets while Boston countered with just 14.
“Of course we’re going to have frustration,” forward Jared Sullinger said. “I thought we fought hard from the beginning of this trip to the end, it’s a big difference with the team. We’re playing more together, the ball is moving side to side and we just gotta close out games better. That’s about it.”
• The Celtics were among the best 3-point shooting defense teams in the NBA but they allowed 52 on the five-game road trip and 10 on Saturday.
• Jerryd Bayless continues to progress as he gets accustomed to the Celtics’ system, scoring 12 points with six assists Saturday in 21 minutes off the bench.
• Sullinger responded from a strong performance Friday at Golden State but posting his ninth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.