Fixture: Boston Celtics vs Portland Trail Blazers
Date & Time: Sunday, 2nd August 2020, 3:30 PM ET (Monday 1:00 AM IST)
Venue: The Arena (WWOS), Disney World, Orlando, FL
In this game, the Boston Celtics, who are the third seed in the Eastern Conference take on the Portland Trail Blazers who are currently the ninth seed in the Western Conference. The Boston Celtics are 3.5 games away from the second-seeded Toronto Raptors while the Portland Trail Blazers are looking to qualify for the play-in tournament at the end of the seeding games.
Boston Celtics preview
Despite suffering defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics should be feeling quite pleased with their performance against the Greek Freak and his team. With Kemba on restricted minutes and Jayson Tatum in a major shooting slump, the Boston Celtics took the game to the final minutes where luck went against them in a few foul calls that could have gone either way.
Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis were dominant on the defensive end against the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Marcus Smart led the scoring with 23 points.
Jaylen Brown scored 22 points in the game despite being in foul trouble for most of the second half. Kemba Walker seemed to be in great shape during his nineteen minutes on the floor.
The only cause for concern for the Boston Celtics is Jayson Tatum who struggled to get the ball in the basket. He ended with 5 points with 2-18 shooting in 32 minutes of play. Had he made a few more shots, the game could have possibly ended with a victory for the Boston Celtics.
Key player - Jaylen Brown
With Kemba Walker on limited minutes and Jayson Tatum struggling, the Boston Celtics will require significant contributions from Jaylen Brown to win this game against the Portland Trail Blazers. In their previous match-up this season, Jaylen Brown scored 24 points with 7 rebounds while hitting 3 of 7 from beyond the arc. The Boston Celtics won that game with ease and will hope to secure a win again to regain momentum. Jaylen Brown's current form makes him the key player for the Celtics in the upcoming game against the Blazers.
Boston Celtics predicted lineup
Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis
Portland Trail Blazers preview
After a hard-fought overtime victory against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Portland Trail Blazers will be relieved to have reduced the margin of games with the eight seed, as they now find themselves firmly in the ninth spot merely 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies.
While the victory will be crucial to the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff chances, their performance in the game was not perfect. They gave up a double-digit lead before eventually catching up courtesy of some impeccable shooting from Carmelo Anthony who finished with 21 points. CJ McCollum was the best player for the Blazers with 33 points on 66.6% shooting from the field.
The return of Jusuf Nurkic is definitely a positive for the Portland Trail Blazers. He scored 18 points and grabbed 9 boards on his return and while he may have seemed rusty, we can expect his game to improve as the season progresses.
Damian Lillard's initial struggles to score could be a cause of concern to the Portland Trail Blazers. While Lillard did score 29 points in the game, he shot only 2-9 from beyond the three-point line. Lillard's form will be crucial in the upcoming game against the Boston Celtics.
Key player - CJ McCollum
Throughout the NBA scrimmages, CJ McCollum has been scoring efficiently for the Portland Trail Blazers. In the game against the Grizzlies, he led the Blazers' scoring as well. In the previous game against the Boston Celtics this season, he had scored 28 points with 10 assists, leading the Portland Trail Blazers in Lillard's absence.
The Portland Trail Blazers will need CJ McCollum to continue his scoring form as they hope to take another step towards securing a place in the play-in game.
Portland Trail Blazers predicted lineup
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic
Celtics vs Blazers Match Prediction
The Boston Celtics will be expected to win this game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite having a great lineup with experienced players, the Portland Trail Blazers have not had a consistent showing in the scrimmages. Many of their players have recently recovered from injuries.
The Boston Celtics on the other hand, took the top team in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks to the final minutes of the game despite missing Kemba Walker. Their bench production and elite defense will be enough to put away the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Portland Trail Blazers' chances depend on Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic who have been decent so far but must step up to their full potential as the Blazers punch above their weight in this bout against the Boston Celtics
Where to watch Celtics vs Blazers?
Local coverage of the match can be seen on NBC Sports Boston and NBC Sports Northwest. The same will be broadcast nationwide in the US on ABC. You can also live stream the fixture via NBA League Pass.
Published 01 Aug 2020, 21:00 IST