After a sloppy first half, the Celtics returned to form and beat the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies 116-96 on Wednesday night. After four days off since their loss in Cleveland at the hands of LeBron and Co., the C's had to shake off some rust to start the game, but once they did they got back to their winning ways. This win marked the 14th straight at the TD Garden, the longest such streak since the TD Garden came into existence and the longest for the team since 1991.
The Grizzlies, without Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and and Marc Gasol, got off to a quick start in the fourth quarter. A team associated with grit and grind, Memphis used their hustle on the defensive end to get out to an early 8-2 lead. Jared Sullinger and Jae Crowder kept the C's in the game with 12 of the team's first 17 points. Also notable, Isaiah Thomas snapped his streak without a turnover at just over 107 minutes.
The C's were lethargic in the first half on both ends of the floor. The offense looked disjointed and the defense allowed too many easy looks early on. Although they shot just 38.1 percent from the floor in the opening quarter, a Marcus Smart three-point shot in the final seconds pulled the game within two points (26-24).
Smart opened the second quarter by picking off a pass intended for Vince Carter and took it the length of the court for a layup to tie the game at 26-26. Tyler Zeller played some valuable minutes in the opening half, scoring five points and securing four rebounds in just seven minutes of play.
The Celtics' shooting picked up in the second quarter, but nine offensive rebounds from the Grizzlies and some early foul trouble from the C's kept them in the game. Memphis was 17-18 from the charity stripe and was in the penalty in the second quarter with just over six minutes left to play. The Celtics went into the locker room outworked and down 55-52.
Jarell Martin, who had previously scored just eight points on the entire season, went 7-8 from the field and scored 15 points in the first half. Crowder led the C's with 10 points and Evan Turner added nine points off of the bench.
The C's started the second half on a 10-4 run to take a 60-57 lead. Thomas had five points during the run and although his shot wasn't falling from the field, he was getting to the line and drawing fouls. Mario Chalmers, who had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, was added to the growing Memphis injury list after he was helped to the locker room with a non-contact lower leg injury at about the halfway point of the third quarter. From that point on, the Celtics took control and went into the fourth quarter up 83-67.
The Celtics got some help from the Grizzlies in the third quarter to open up their lead. Memphis gave the ball away to the tune of 17 turnovers through three quarters and only scored 12 points on 3-16 shooting. Thomas outscored the Grizzlies 16-12 by himself.
With the mounting injury problems, the Grizzlies weren't able to generate any real offense. With the Celtics hitting their stride on the offensive end, Boston was able to put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter.
Thomas finished the game with 22 points and five assists while Turner finished with 16 points and eight assists. Avery Bradley and Crowder both added 15 points a piece.
JaMychal Green finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds and Vince Carter finished with 17 points as well.
Photo Credit: David Butler II/USA Today
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