Both teams come into this contest with similar records in their previous ten outings, however, the Boston Celtics have won their last three and kept opponents to 106.3 points per game in those 10. Their defensive astuteness will need to be at its best again on Tuesday as they face the Portland Trail Blazers leader and one of the NBA's best scorers, Damian Lillard.
Fixture: Boston Celtics vs Portland Trail Blazers | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 13th; 10:00 PM ET (Wednesday, April 14th; 7:30 AM IST).
Venue: Moda Center, Portland, OR.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics look to have found their groove at just the right time with less than 20 games to go in the regular season calendar. Jayson Tatum has put the offensive responsibilities on his young shoulders recently and is excelling as the C's leader on both ends of the court.
Elsewhere, Marcus Smart is now becoming the third scorer the Boston Celtics need him to be, putting up 17 points a night in the last 4 games, while third-year center Robert Williams is making the center position his own. He leads his teammates in rebounds per game over the last ten matchups (9.3) and had a +/- rating of 4.8 during that time.
While their next 6 fixtures are tough, the Boston Celtics will be hopeful they can make it into the automatic playoff berths with a kinder schedule during the end-of-season run-in.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum has had a week to remember in his young NBA career. The Boston Celtics talisman put up a terrific 53 points in an overtime win against the T-Wolves on Friday before leading his side to a win over the Nuggets with 28 points and 10 boards on Sunday.
Not only was Tatum dominant over the weekend, but he has also led the Boston Celtics in the last ten matchups with 29.4 points and ranks second among teammates in rebounds with 8 per night. Over that period, the forward shot the ball at a remarkable rate of 49.5% from the field and 94% from the line.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kemba Walker; Shooting Guard - Marcus Smart; Power Forward - Jayson Tatum; Small Forward - Jaylen Brown; Center - Robert Williams
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
Although the Portland Trail Blazers are in pursuit of a 5th-place berth in the West, they have lost 3 of their last 5 outings. Two of those came against a top-3 side in the conference and the other against last year's finalists - the Miami Heat.
Damian Lillard recently addressed the issue and stated that, as a team, the Portland Trail Blazers needed to have an honest assessment of themselves and look at how they perform against top opposition. Indeed, this season, the Trail Blazers are 2-10 against top-4 sides from either conference and are 7-4 against top-8 opposition.
Nevertheless, the Portland Trail Blazers have a well structured side and, with one of the most feared scorers in the league, will worry any opponent they face in the first round of this year's playoffs.
Key Player - Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has been in electric scoring form again this year, recording 5 games of 40+ points and has helped keep the Portland Trail Blazers in contention for home-court advantage in the playoffs. Although his shooting stats have fallen off slightly recently, this is in part due to CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic returning from injury and taking their share of the offensive load.
When it comes to the season as a whole, Lillard is putting up an offensive rating of 124 and already has a win share of 7.5. Most of that will have come when his teammates were sidelined with injuries, during which time Lillard put up over 30 points a night. That run helped keep the Portland Trail Blazers in the West's tightly-packed top-6 which in turn raised his stock for the MVP award.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Damian Lillard; Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum; Power Forward - Robert Covington; Small Forward - Norman Powell; Center - Jusuf Nurkic
Celtics vs Trail Blazers Match Prediction
This will undoubtedly be an intriguing matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers' top-10 offense facing off against the Boston Celtics' recently solidified defense.
Nurkic and Kanter will be looking to take advantage of the C's rim protection while Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will have to score more than the 29 points, as they did against Miami, if the Portland Trail Blazers are to win this one.
Nevertheless, with home-court advantage, we are backing the Trail Blazers to come away from this one with a narrow victory.
Where to watch the Celtics vs Trail Blazers matchup
Tuesday night's exciting matchup will be broadcast nationally on TNT in America as well as on NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Boston. Fans can also stream the game with an NBA League Pass.