Celtics show Blazers who's (still) NBA boss

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics finally got a look at the one that got away.

Greg Oden made his first visit to Boston on Friday night, and the Celtics banged him around and back to the bench with foul trouble before beating the Portland Trail Blazers 93-78.

"I think he's just raw right now," Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. "He's going to get better. He has a great upside if he just keeps working. ... His only way is up."

The NBA's most-decorated franchise was two decades into its championship drought in 2007 when it went into the draft lottery coveting Oden or second-choice Kevin Durant. The ping pong balls bounced badly and the Celtics wound up with neither, but with their backup plan they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and won their unprecedented 17th title.

So there were no regrets in Boston when the Blazers brought Oden and a six-game winning streak to town.

"They're the world champions," said Oden, who had just five points and six rebounds in 18 minutes before fouling out with 3:46 left. "We came in here wanting to see where we're at, and we're not there yet."

Allen scored 19 points, and Rajon Rondo followed his first career triple-double with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Celtics cruised to their 11th straight win — their longest streak since 1985-86. It was the first time the Trail Blazers lost with Oden in the starting lineup since the season opener, when he left scoreless with a sprained right foot after less than 13 minutes.

"We have got to get better," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "This is the type of basketball that you are going to be facing going down the stretch. ... Physical play like this, we've got to be able to mentally and physically play it."

Garnett had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Kendrick Perkins had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which opened a 25-point lead and almost frittered it away after coach Doc Rivers began resting his starters late in the third quarter.

Asked about the Blazers forcing him to put his starters back in late in the fourth, Rivers said, "We forced us to put our starters back in. ... We had a lot to do with it."

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 points for the Blazers.

Allen, coming off a 21-point game on Wednesday night, scored 10 in the first quarter. But it wasn't until the end of the second that the rest of the Celtics got going, scoring the last 14 points of the half and the first seven of the third quarter to take a 56-36 lead.

They made it 25, 76-51, on Leon Powe's basket to start the fourth before Rivers began substituting liberally and Portland cut the deficit to 11 points. Garnett, who left with 2:20 left in the third, came back in with three other starters with 6:04 left in the fourth and settled things with a couple of big dunks; he also drew Oden's sixth foul.


The Celtics will present James Posey with his championship ring when he comes to town with the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night. ... Celtics G Tony Allen missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. ... Portland had four technical fouls, three of them illegal defenses. ... Paul Pierce is shooting 29-for-76 (38 percent) in his last six games.

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