Portland Trail Blazers beat Boston Celtics in overtime, providing spark they desperately needed

C.J. McCollum,Isaiah Thomas
Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum drives past Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas during the fourth quarter of Portland’s 127-123 overtime win in an NBA basketball game in Boston Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) (Winslow Townson)

BOSTON — Hours after one of the Trail Blazers‘ most gut-wrenching losses of the season and minutes before another formidable test, Terry Stotts looked at his fragile and beleaguered team and offered a simple message of inspiration.

“One win can turn around a season,” the Blazers’ coach told his team in the locker room before their Saturday night matchup against the Boston Celtics.

Now we’ll find out if he was right.

The Blazers ended a disheartening East Coast trip with one of their most impressive victories of the season Saturday, defeating the Boston Celtics 127-123 in overtime before 18,624 at TD Garden.

With CJ McCollum carrying the Blazers early, Damian Lillard making clutch plays late and Meyers Leonard providing a surprising boost of adrenaline throughout, the Blazers (19-27) ended a four-game losing streak with a win over the third-best team in the Eastern Conference.

“That was a huge win,” Lillard said. “We showed some fight, we showed some heart.”

After Terry Rozier swished a three-pointer with 8.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game 113-113 and Lillard missed a game-winning jumper at the buzzer, you could almost feel the collective eye rolls in Portland three time zones away. But unlike so many other times this season — including Friday night during a wasted opportunity against Philadelphia 76ers — the Blazers made multiple clutch plays in overtime to win.

There were a pair of clutch free throws by Al-Farouq Aminu with 59.3 seconds left. A back-breaking three-point play from Lillard, which came off a beautiful bounce pass from Mason Plumlee, with 47.0 seconds left. A nice finish at the rim by Plumlee — who missed a similar shot at the buzzer against the 76ers — with 24.0 seconds left. Two game-clinching free throws from Lillard — who missed a critical free throw late against the 76ers — with 1.9 seconds left. And just enough defense stops, at just the right times, in between to eke out a win.

“I’m really proud of our team,”…