Trail Blazers-Celtics Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers will attempt to extend a four-game
win streak when they head out on the road. The first opponent
they’ll face will be seeking to bounce back from the end to a
four-game run.

The Boston Celtics will also try to earn a 10th consecutive home
victory against the Blazers on Friday night.

Portland’s streak appeared that it might be in jeopardy
Wednesday until Damian Lillard made a layup with 6.5 seconds left
in a 90-89 win over Phoenix. The Blazers have earned only one of
their four straight wins on the road and will play their next four
away from home.

“We’ve got a chance to really pull away from some teams out here
in the West,” guard Wesley Matthews said. “We’re playing good
basketball and we feel confident that we can beat any team that we
play against. We feel confident on the road.”

Portland (6-2) will make its first stop in Boston, where the
Celtics (4-5) had their rally from an 0-4 start slowed with an
89-83 defeat to Charlotte on Wednesday. Boston shot 37.7 percent
and missed 14 of 21 attempts from 3-point range.

“They beat us with effort. They beat us to all the loose balls
and rebounds. It’s not really (a game) to throw away. It’s one to
look at to see where we can get better,” guard Jordan Crawford
said.

The Celtics are expected to get Jared Sullinger back Friday
after the forward sat out because of a bruised right knee.

“I plan on going,” Sullinger, averaging 11.3 points and 5.1
rebounds, told the team’s official website. “It was just tough for
me to land and jump confidently so I just decided to sit
(Wednesday) night out and hopefully get another day of rest and try
to get this knee back where it needs to be.

“As the days go on, the swelling and the soreness are starting
to evaporate.”

The Celtics could use Sullinger’s help after scoring 38 points
in the paint against Charlotte. They averaged 49.5 points in that
area during the four-game win streak, which followed the
franchise’s worst start since 1969-70.

Boston will try to start another run by earning its 14th win in
16 games against Portland. The Celtics, though, had their six-game
series win streak snapped with a 92-86 loss Feb. 24, and Matthews
led the way for the Blazers with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Boston handled Portland in the lone home matchup in 2012-13,
leading by as many as 27 points in the third quarter of a 96-78 win
Nov. 30. Jeff Green had 19 points off the bench and enters
averaging a career-high 17.1 while starting all nine games.

Green is averaging 19.7 points on 52.6 percent shooting in his
last three games, and he’s made 7 of 15 attempts from 3-point
range.

LaMarcus Aldridge, who leads Portland with 21.3 points and 8.8
rebounds per game, and Robin Lopez each have double-doubles in
three straight contests. Aldridge has just two double-doubles in 12
career games against Boston while Lopez has none in eight
matchups.

Lopez, averaging 8.8 points and 7.3 boards, had 15
double-doubles in 324 career games prior to this season.