Memphis Grizzlies (33-31) at Boston Celtics (40-22)
Wednesday, March 10
Game #63, Road Game #29
TV: CSN-NE, FSTN, NBA-LP 752, 753
Radio: WEEI, WRBO
Referees: Ron Garretson, Tony Brothers, Eli Roe
The Celtics are coming off a tough 2 point loss to the Bucks and are playing in back to back games as well as having to travel overnight. Fatigue could be a factor but at some point this team has to shift into another gear and reach down deep to pull out wins.
They are coming off a game against a young and athletic team only to face yet another young and athletic team. The Grizzlies are currently 3.5 games out of the playoffs in the west and are scrambling to try to make up ground on Portland for that 8th spot. After the loss to the Bucks, the Celtics are just half a game up on the Hawks for the 3rd spot in the east.
Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Grizzlies are coming off a win over the Nets on Monday while the Celtics would like to start another win streak after losing their last game to the Bucks. The Celtics are 18-11 at home and have not played all that well at the Garden while the Grizzlies are 14-17 on the road.
The Celtics have got to win these games against the lower level teams if they expect to make any noise in the playoffs. This would be a good time to start.
Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen/Paul Pierce Pierce/Kevin Garnett/Kendrick Perkins
Mike Conley/OJ Mayo/ Rudy Gay/Zach Randolph / Marc Gasol
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay will be a very tough matchup for Paul Pierce. He has been playing very well this season and is capable of scoring a lot of points. Pierce has struggled in his last couple gamesand will need to play very well on both ends of the court to get the best of this matchup.
Kevin Garnett vs Zach Randolph
Randolph has been playing great ball this season and made his first appearance at the All Star game. He has been out with a sore back, but the Memphis papers are expecting him to return for this game. I expect to see Perk on Randolph when he goes inside.
Kendrick Perkins vs Marc Gasol
Gasol has been playing well and Perk needs to be physical inside to keep him from getting easy baskets. Gasol has a height advantage, but Perk has a strength advantage.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is the key to every game. They especially need to bring their defense against this young and talented Grizzlies team.
Focus - The Celtics need to come in focused and get off to a good start. They also have to be careful not to lose focus and finish strong as well. The Grizzlies will take advantage of any lapses on the Celtics part.
Rebound - The Celtics need to make an effort to crash the boards to prevent the Grizzlies from getting second chance points off of offensive rebounds and fast break opportunities on the defensive end. Rebounding has been their weak link this season and they must make more of an effort on the boards.
Rondo As goes Rondo, so go the Celtics. He is the engine that makes the team run. When he is aggressive in pushing the ball and also on defense it sets the tone for the rest of the team. He needs to continue to be aggressive on both ends of the court.
The Big Three Needs to Be Big - Ray Allen took only 3 shots and missed all 3 against the Bucks. Paul Pierce was just 3-13 and missed an open jumper that would have tied the game in the final seconds of the game. KG fared somewhat better with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The team needs more from these 3 if this team is going to turn the corner and be a dominant force in the playoffs. This kind of play isn't going to get them there.
Fatigue - The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games after traveling from Milwaukee overnight. The Grizzlies had the previous night off so should be rested.