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Game 45: Celtics (34-10) at Trail Blazers (25-21)

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  January 27, 2011 02:35 PM

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Shaquille O'Neal hopped the cross-country flight for the Celtics' four-game road trip that starts tonight against the Trail Blazers.


PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Celtics start their four-game tour of the Western Conference tonight in Rip City. Shaquille O'Neal made the trip, but he'll sit out tonight. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said O'Neal would likely play tomorrow in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Marquis Daniels is back after missing Tuesday night's win over the Cavs due to family issues.

Tip-off: 10:30 p.m.
Records: Celtics (34-10), Trail Blazers (25-21)
Broadcast info: TNT, CSN, WEEI

Probable starters:
Celtics:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Semih Erden

Trail Blazers:
PG Andre Miller
SG Wesley Mathews
SF Nicolas Batum
PF LaMarcus Aldridge
C Joel Przybilla

Storylines:

Winning out West: For the first time since the Finals, the Celtics make an extended stay out West. Only five Eastern Conference teams have wins against the West. The Celtics are 8-4. Of the four losses (Dallas, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Houston) only one has come on the road (Dallas). The Celtics went 17-13 against the West last year. They've won three straight against Portland and 10 of the past 11 meetings.

Blazers still plagued by injuries: Brandon Roy just had surgery on both knees. Greg Oden's out for the year ... again. Marcus Camby tore his meniscus. And that's the stuff Portland's managed to deal with. The dumb luck machine kept working against them, though, when LaMarcus Aldridge bruised his hip the same day he won Western Conference player of the week. He's probable for tonight.

Ray Allen is scorching: For January, Allen's shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and 53 percent from 3-point range (35 of 66). He's far and away the most efficient shooting guard of those who've taken more than seven shots a game this month. Washington's Kirk Hinrich (52.4 percent from 3) is the closest to Allen's clip from 3-point range, but he hasn't taken a third of Allen's attempts from deep (21)

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