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Horford beats the buzzer, Blazers

Field Level Media
February 04. 2018 11:45PM
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown reacts with forward Daniel Theis after forward Al Horford hit the game-winning shot during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Al Horford’s step-back 20-foot jumper at the buzzer gave the Boston Celtics a come-from-behind 97-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday at TD Garden.

Horford collected 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the injury-ridden Celtics, who rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit.

Jayson Taytum contributed 17 points and Jaylen Brown 16 for Boston, which won its fourth straight game.

CJ McCollum scored 22 points and Damian Lillard had 21 points and nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who had won seven of their nine previous contests. Moe Harkless added 19 points and eight rebounds off the Portland bench.

Three of Boston’s top six scorers were out due to injury — starting point guard Kyrie Irving (quad), starting forward Marcus Morris (hip) and reserve guard Marcus Smart (hand).

Harkless scored 14 points — hitting 4 of 4 3-point shots — to help stake Portland to a 54-38 halftime lead. Lillard had only four points on 1-for-9 shooting, including 1 for 6 from 3-point range.

The Blazers’ advantage was 57-42 when Boston went on a 18-4 run to trim the margin to 61-60 midway through the quarter.

Portland carried a 73-69 edge into the final period.

The Celtics tied it at 75-75 early in the fourth quarter. Portland kicked it back up to 85-79, but Tatum’s 3-point shot squared it at 85-85 with 3:34 left.

Horford’s 3 gave Boston its first lead since the game’s first three minutes at 88-85 with 2:50 to go. Tatum followed with a jumper to make it 90-85 with 1:59 remaining.

McCollum’s trey cut it to 90-88 with 1:36 to play. Brown followed with a 3 to make it 93-88 with 1:13 to go. Lillard answered with a 3 to get Portland within 93-91 with 1:05 remaining.

Lillard’s driving basket tied it at 95-95 with 35 seconds to go. Rozier’s 20-footer pushed Boston back in front 97-95 with 13.6 seconds on the clock. Lillard’s three-point play gave Portland a 98-97 advantage with 7.2 seconds on the clock.

With Jusuf Nurkic scoring 10 early points, Portland jumped to a 21-10 lead. Boston started the game 4 for 21 from the field. The Blazers took a 26-19 advantage into the second quarter.

Portland extended its edge to 39-28 early in the second period. The Celtics cut it to 39-36, but the Blazers ended the quarter in a 12-0 run to go into intermission ahead by 14 points.