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Business-like road win: 10 Takeaways from Boston Celtics-Portland Trail Blazers

Business-like road win: 10 Takeaways from Boston Celtics-Portland Trail Blazers

1. The best descriptor for the Boston Celtics victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday is “business-like”. The Celtics were expected to win, they were even expected to win comfortably, and they did. And they did it by being in control from the jump.

Sure, the Blazers made a run to make it sort of close in the fourth quarter, but you never got the sense the Celtics were letting go of the rope. This was mostly Damian Lillard doing what he does in Dame Time. Boston kept running their offense, kept playing and got stops when necessary to close it out.

The Celtics got this one done in some familiar ways. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown did their thing. Marcus Smart made some Marcus Smart plays. Al Horford and Derrick White were steadily terrific.

But Boston also did some different things too. They bludgeoned Portland on the boards with a 52-37 rebounding advantage. That included outrebounding the Blazers by an 18-8 margin on the offensive glass.

The Celtics also forced a lot of turnovers, which isn’t their usual defensive style. Of the 19 turnovers forced, Boston snagged 12 steals. That led to a bunch of easy points the other way.

All around, this was a good, solid win for the Celtics. And it clinched at least a .500 road trip.

2. Al Horford got Boston off to a great start in this game. He hit a layup early, which seemed to get him going. Horford is shooting threes with more confidence than ever. That’s fitting, given Horford is second in the NBA in three-point percentage this season.

Jusuf Nurkic doesn’t get a hand up, so Horford doesn’t hesitate:

A couple of plays later, Nurkic did get a hand up, but Horford let this fly immediately off the catch:

Horford also had 10 assists in the game. His ability to rip-and-run off the boards has never waned. Horford’s push up the floor created this bucket for Jaylen Brown:

Late in the game, Horford put Portland to bed with another no-hesitation triple:

3. Jayson Tatum had another shaky night from behind the arc, shooting just 2-of-11 on threes. But overly focusing on that would miss that Tatum is finding other ways to score when his jumper isn’t falling. He’s getting to the line with regularity now, finishing 16-of-18 on free throws in this one. But Tatum is also getting his baskets in other ways too.

Good things seem to happen when Tatum catches the ball on the move going downhill toward the rim:

This was one of Tatum’s two threes on the night. He’s been very good…

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