Celtics win third straight

Ray Allen scored 21 points, including eight straight early in the

fourth quarter to stymie a run by Portland, and the Boston Celtics

beat the Trail Blazers, 96-76, on Friday night.

Kevin Garnett scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half,

helping the Celtics on the second night of a difficult West Coast

two-step. After holding off the Lakers, 87-86, Thursday night in

Los Angeles, the Celtics easily dispatched a rested Portland team

and handed the Blazers their worst loss of the season.

Garnett and his frontcourt mates dominated the interior in

the first half, as Boston built an 18-point halftime lead. When

Portland made its charge in the fourth quarter, Allen knocked down

a pair of key threes to keep the lead in double figures.

Andre Miller led the Blazers with 16 points, but the debut of

Marcus Camby in Portland was a dud. Camby made his first shot, then

missed his next four. He finished with two points and seven

rebounds in 29 minutes.

All-Star Brandon Roy played 34 minutes in just his second

game since Jan. 20. Roy made three of eight shots and finished with

nine points, but struggled to get open looks and appeared

distracted by his gimpy leg.

How frustrating was it for Roy? In one of his swiftest moves

of the night, Roy sprinted baseline to gather a rebound and dunk,

only to be called for having his heel on the baseline.

But for all the angst by the Blazers’ flat first three

quarters, they pulled within nine on Rudy Fernandez’s three-point

play to open the fourth. But Fernandez was called for charging on

consecutive possessions — both drawn by Glen Davis and both waving

off made baskets — and two Allen three-pointers quickly pushed the

lead back to 15.

Portland’s 76 points were a season low.

The short-handed Celtics thought they might have even fewer

bodies before the game when a sprained thumb started acting up on

Paul Pierce. He played and added nine points, and the Celtics got

33 points from their bench while still waiting for the arrival of

Nate Robinson.

Acquired in a trade with the Knicks, Robinson will remain on

the East Coast while recovering from the flu before joining his new

team.

With Camby’s long arms now roaming the middle, the Blazers

were expected to get a defensive boost out of the trade that should

help solidify a middle decimated by injuries this season. But

Boston scored 32 points in the paint in the first half, shot 73

percent in the first quarter and faced little resistance getting

shots near the rim.

Boston took command with a 10-2 run early in the first

quarter where four different players scored baskets. The Celtics

bench kept the surge going into the second quarter with 11 of the

first 16 points of the quarter. Boston’s reserves shot 7 of 13 in

the first half, while Portland’s bench was a combined 0 for 9 with

five points.

While Portland’s defense was porous, the Celtics’ defense was

suffocating, especially in the second quarter. Portland managed

just three made baskets in the quarter. All three came from

Aldridge, but the first wasn’t until there was 5:15 left in the

half, an emphatic dunk over Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.

Portland’s 13 points in the second quarter matched a season low.

NOTES: Celtics coach Doc Rivers is expecting

Robinson to make his debut Tuesday night when the Celtics return

home to face the Knicks. … One fan in Seattle SuperSonics gear

sat at midcourt behind the Blazers bench and flashed a Sonics flag

for television cameras on nearly every possession. … Rondo was

called for a technical foul in the third quarter after getting

flattened by an Aldridge screen in the backcourt and threw his

mouthpiece at the Celtics bench near an official.