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Preview: Celtics at Trail Blazers, Game 45 01.27.11 at 11:18 am ET
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You just can’t kill the Portland Trail Blazers. Greg Oden is out for the season, again, after knee surgery. Marcus Camby is out for three weeks after knee surgery. Brandon Roy had surgery on both his knees. On and on it goes for the most star-crossed franchise in the NBA who may never approach the greatness that was forecast for them following the 2009 season.

Yet, here they are again, clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference having won five of their last six games. Much of the credit for Portland’s still viable status belongs to forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has taken on a larger burden without Roy in the Blazers deliberate offense and scoring more inside.

Aldridge, Andre Miller, Wes Matthews and Nic Batum form the thrown-together core of this Blazers team and that’s enough talent to make them a tough out any night of the week.

The Celtics come to town tonight for the start of a four-game west coast trip and in many way, this is the pivotal game of the trip. They have a back-to-back with Phoenix Friday night and then the showdown with the Lakers on Sunday. The last thing the Celtics want is a losing streak heading into L.A.

CELTICS (34-10, 7-3 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 109.1 (Points scored per 100 possessions, 10th)

Defensive Rating: 100.6 (Points allowed per 100 possessions, 2nd)

Pace: 90.6 (Possessions per game, 22nd)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Semih Erden

Injuries: Shaquille O’Neal (Hip, questionable), Jermaine O’Neal (Knee, out), Delonte West (Wrist, out).

TRAIL BLAZERS (25-21, 6-4 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 107.3 (14th)

Defensive Rating: 106.6 (15th)

Pace: 88.8 (30th)

Likely Starters: Andre Miller, Wes Matthews, Nic Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla

Injuries: Marcus Camby (Knee, out), Greg Oden (Knee, out), Brandon Roy (Knee, out), Elliot Williams (Knee, out), Aldridge (Hip, probable), Matthews (Hip, questionable). Read the rest of this entry »

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Preview: Blazers at Celtics 12.01.10 at 10:12 am ET
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ainge_portlandFor all the attention Greg Oden‘s knee injuries have received consider the case of Brandon Roy. Just two seasons ago, Roy averaged 22 points and right around five points and five assists per game for a team that won 54 games. He was a second-team All NBA selection and the general feeling around the league was that he was on the verge of attaining superstar status.

There’s a good chance that version of Roy is gone and never coming back. He avoided having knee surgery, but as the Oregonian’s Jason Quick pointed out, that was only because he has no cartilage left to fix. Roy’s doctors told him he had “arthritic knee,” bone on bone. He’s only 26 years old but he’s already on anti-inflammatory medication and playing under a time limit of 35 minutes a night.

This isn’t potential we’re talking about, like with Oden. This is a great player on the brink of becoming something truly special. Roy is still good, but like the Blazers as a whole there’s a sense of missed opportunity and bad luck.

Roy played 33 minutes in a loss to the Sixers Tuesday night, and the Blazers scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter, which has been a disturbing trend. They held a team meeting after a loss to New Jersey Sunday night and they have lost four games in a row.

The Celtics may be catching them at the right time or they may be dealing with a desperate team. It would be dangerous to take Roy, or the Blazers, lightly.

blazers_logoTRAIL BLAZERS (8-9, 3-7 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 106.7 (14)

Defensive Rating: 107.8 (17)

Pace: 88.7 (29)

Likely Starters: Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby

Injuries: Joel Przybila (Doubtful, knee), Greg Oden (Out, knee), Elliot Williams (Out, knee), Sean Marks (Ankle, questionable)

celtics_logoCELTICS (13-4, 7-3 last 10)

Offensive Rating: 108.9 (9)

Defensive Rating: 100.3 (2)

Pace: 90.9 (22)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal

Injuries: Jermaine O’Neal (Knee, out), Delonte West (Wrist, out), Kendrick Perkins (Knee, out) Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Trail Blazers turned down Celtics 08.19.10 at 12:05 am ET
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For weeks, Rudy Fernandez was the center of Celtics offseason rumors after expressing his unhappiness playing for the Trail Blazers. And while those talks had quieted recently, there was still chatter as to whether or not the Celtics would acquire the Spanish guard.

All of those rumors can be put to rest. On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported, “Fernandez has informed agent Andy Miller that he is prepared to be suspended by the Blazers and forfeit the final two years of his contract in order to return to Europe and play in his homeland of Spain in 2012.”

According to the report, the Trail Blazers turned down offers from the Celtics, Bulls, and Knicks. Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho told the Oregonian, “I’m not going to be pressured into making a deal. I’m not going to make a trade just to make a trade. It has to be the right deal for the team.”

Yahoo! Sports also reported the Celtics were one of approximately 15 teams that expressed interest in Fernandez.

Fernandez is still under contract with the Trail Blazers for the upcoming season. The team has an option for the 2011-12 season.

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