Moments before the Rose Garden floor was flooded with streamers (I guess that's what happens when you win after losing seven straight), the ball was in the hands of Blazers point guard Damian Lillard after he missed a short lay-up. The Celtics didn't bother to foul him. At that point, trailing by six with a few ticks left on the game clock, it was a wrap. The Blazers knew it. So did the Celtics. But that last rebound snatched by Lillard in so many ways summed up the kind of night it was for the Celtics, losers in three of their last four games following Sunday's 92-86 loss. When Lillard's shot fell off the mark, it was anybody's ball for the taking. Far too often on Sunday, Boston failed to capitalize on those opportunities. Although the final score was relatively close, the Celtics lost because they were beaten soundly on the boards, 47-36. When you take a look at the most common hustle stats that are usually quite telling as to who out-worked who, the C's had to feel pretty good afterwards - minus the final score of course. Boston won the points in the paint battle, 36-32. They had more fast-break points to the tune of 19-7. The only hustle stat of note that the Blazers came out ahead was second-chance points, with Portland coming away with nine of the game's 13 second-chance points. And those second-chance points only tell part of the tale as to the important role that rebounding - or in this case, Boston's lack of rebounding - played in the game's final outcome.
Pierce on loss: 'The 50-50 ball really hurt us'
NBC Sports Boston | Feb 25