Box Score Bank: MJ's 63

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Box Score Bank: MJ's 63

The Red Sox celebrated a big anniversary over at Fenway today, but no one's said a word about April 20's other historic sporting event.

That's why I'm here.

So let's set the Box Score Bank for 26 years ago today: April 20, 1986

Ronald Reagan was rocking the presidency. Chernobyl was six days from disaster. Kiss, by Prince and the Revolution was the No. 1 song in America. Down and Out in Beverly Hills was the No. 1 movie. Rajon Rondo was seven weeks old

And over at the Garden, Michael Jordan was doing this.

Final Score: Celtics 135, Bulls 131 (2 OT)

Obviously, the big story here was MJ, and his 63 points on 22 of 41 shooting. (It's one of only seven times in Jordan's entire career he attempted more than 40 shots in a game; Kobe's done this eight times). Jordan also had six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. He was 19-21 from the foul line.

But he was also one of only three Bulls in double figures (Orlando Woolridge and The Oak Man), and eventually succumbed to a more balanced and just plain better Celtics squad.

Boston was led by Larry Bird with 36 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Kevin McHale with 27 points, 15 boards and six blocks and Danny Ainge who dropped in 24 points in 47 minutes.

And how about Bill Walton's line? Big Red picked up 10 points, 15 rebounds and perhaps most impressive six fouls in only 25 minutes. The Celtics needed it too, as Robert Parish struggled, scoring only 13 points on 4-11 shooting.

But cut Chief some slack, it was 420.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

BOSTON – For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics ran into a team that played with a greater sense of desperation.

And the result was yet another defeat as the Portland Trail Blazers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, were able to get off their losing skid with a 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics.

Boston (26-17) has now lost back-to-back games at home, while the Blazers (19-27) snapped a four-game losing streak.

In the extra session, Portland jumped out to a 117-113 lead only for Boston’s Al Horford scoring on a bank-shot in the paint and Thomas draining a go-ahead 3-pointer for Boston.

Portland regained the lead when Al-Farouq Aminu made a pair of free throws with 59.3 seconds to play to make it a 119-118 game.

Boston soon fell behind 122-118, but a pair of Thomas free throws with 44.8 seconds to play made it a two-point game.

Mason Plumlee scored with 24 seconds to play in overtime, and an Al Horford miss – rebounded by Plumlee who was then fouled by Horford – essentially put the game away with 13.5 seconds to play.

Boston found themselves down late in the fourth quarter and seemingly headed towards defeat, only to get an unexpected lift in the final seconds from Terry Rozier.

Trailing by three points late in the fourth, Boston had one last chance to force overtime so who did they turn to?

If you were thinking Thomas which is what the Blazers and most fans were thinking, you would have been dead wrong.

The fourth quarter may be Thomas’ time to shine, but at that point in the game it was Rozier’s moment as he drained a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.

The Blazers came into the game with the kind of potent scoring punch in the backcourt that strikes the fear into the heart of any defense, let alone one that has been as up and down as the Boston Celtics this season.

For most of the game, Portland’s 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (35 points) lived up to the lofty billing as they combined for 63 points.

McCollum and Lillard both did their share of damage down the stretch, but it was their bench – specifically Meyers Leonard – whose play kept Portland in the game early on.

He finished with 17 points off the bench.

Boston led 65-56 at the half, but soon found itself in a 67-all game after McCollum made the second of two free throws.

But Boston countered with a put-back basket by Kelly Olynyk and a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas to push Boston’s lead to 72-67.

Once again the Blazers fought back and eventually took the lead 74-72 on a powerful put-back dunk by Haverill (Mass.) native Noah Vonleh.

Brad Stevens had seen enough of his team getting pushed around, as he called a time-out with 5:31 to play in the quarter.

It didn’t help as Portland continued to bully their way around the rim for second and third-shot opportunities with their lead peaking at 78-72 following a put-back basket by  Plumlee.

But the Celtics responded with a 7-2 spurt capped off by an end-to-end, driving lay-up by Rozier that cut Portland’s lead to 80-79 with 2:44 to play in the quarter. Boston continued to be within striking distance as the third quarter ended with the Celtics trailing 88-86.