PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Another game between Portland and Boston
came down to the final shot. This time, Shareef Abdur-Rahim made
sure the Trail Blazers left the court with the win.
Less than a month after Paul Pierce's last-second shot beat
Portland, Abdur-Rahim's buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Blazers
an 89-87 victory over the Celtics on Thursday night.
Boston led 87-84 with 29.3 seconds left, but Zach Randolph made
two free throws to make it a one-point game. After letting time run
down, the Celtics' Gary Payton tried to get the ball in to Pierce,
but the shot-clock expired and left Portland with one final chance
Abdur-Rahim caught an outlet pass from Derek Anderson, set up
from 25 feet and drilled the winning shot. He was then mobbed by
his teammates, who celebrated a hard-fought victory.
"(Anderson) got in there and made (Pierce) bite a bit,"
Abdur-Rahim said. "He kicked it to me and I just thank God for
giving me the concentration and concentration to knock it down."
On Nov. 10, Pierce made a jumper as time expired and gave the
Celtics a 90-88 victory over the Trail Blazers at Boston.
Abdur-Rahim finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and
Randolph has 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Blazers, who ended a
two-game losing streak.
The final play didn't yield all good news for Portland -- forward
Darius Miles bruised his left heel and needed crutches to get
around after the game. X-rays on the heel were negative.
Payton and Mark Blount had 14 points each for Boston, which has
lost three straight on its West Coast road trip. Leading scorer
Pierce, suffering from flu symptoms, played but was ineffective,
finishing with six points.
"Very disheartening, because we played a good game," Boston
coach Doc Rivers said. "Rahim hit a tough shot and hat's off to
Portland shot just 35.5 percent, but dominated the offensive
boards and ended up with several second-chance looks. The Blazers
outrebounded Boston 62-39, with 26 offensive.
"Down the stretch I think if we had rebounded the ball well, we
would have won the basketball game," Payton said.
With Nick Van Exel sitting out with a hip injury and Damon
Stoudamire struggling, rookie point guard Sebastian Telfair saw
plenty of action for the Blazers. The 19-year-old had 11 points in
25 minutes, two more than Stoudamire, who finished with two points
and seven assists.
The Blazers returned the favor on Pierce, whose last-second
jumper beat Portland when the teams met Nov. 10. Pierce had a
104-degree fever when the Celtics were traveling up from their game
at Golden State on Wednesday, and was questionable up until
"Once you get that first point you get your momentum," Telfair
said. "I call it getting hyped or amped and your shots start going
in and your competitiveness goes up."
Theo Ratliff had 10 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for
Portland, his first good game in two weeks. Stoudamire, mired in a
terrible shooting slump for much of the season, went scoreless for
most of the first three quarters and ended up 0-of-8 from the
Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks suggested after Portland's 22-point
loss to Phoenix on Sunday that lineup changes were possible, though
he later backtracked and kept his usual starters: Stoudamire,
Anderson, Abdur-Rahim, Randolph and Ratliff.
It was another heartbreaking loss for the Celtics, who have lost
eight by a single-digits.
Payton took control on offense near the end of the game, hitting
a jumper and two free throws to give Boston an 85-80 lead with 3:28
Both teams were excellent from the free-throw line. The
Celtics were 18-of-19, while Portland made 19 of 21. ... Boston had
won three of its last four at Portland. Last year, the Blazers got
off to 22-0 lead and won 105-84. ... The Celtics face Seattle on
Saturday and then end their five-game road trip against the Los
Angeles Clippers. ... Portland play-by-play man Brian Wheeler and
color commentator Mike Rice wore mullet-style wigs as part of an
'80s night promotion.