The Boston Celtics host the Memphis Grizzles for their final matchup this season. Isaiah Thomas was able to score a career-high 44 points the last time these two teams played, as the C's came from behind for their best win of the season. Before the game, coach Dave Fizdale announced that Memphis will be without both Chandler Parsons and Mike Conley for tonight.
From the tip both teams got off to slow starts. The Celtics committed four early turnovers, while Memphis also struggled to get going offensively. Without Conley controlling the ball everything seemed to go through Marc Gasol, scoring the first 10 of the teams 15 points.
With both teams starting to pick it up on offense, the C's had the edge late into the first quarter, 21-19. All the Celtics starters scored during the first-units run. Boston finished with seven team turnovers, yet led the game at the end of the first, 28-24. Gasol leads all players with twelve points, while Avery Bradley had nine for the quarter.
Celtics grabbing 83.3 percent of defensive rebounds. Great number, especially against Memphis— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) December 28, 2016
7 turnovers by the #Celtics in the 1st qtr. Have played 20 straight with 15 or less turnovers. Longest streak in NBA... that's in jeopardy!— Abby Chin (@tvabby) December 28, 2016
The second quarter began with Gerald Green getting a chance to show the Celtics what he is capable of doing on the floor. Green scored a quick five points that extended the lead to nine, forcing coach Fizdale to call a quick timeout. With a 43-32 lead, Gerald continued his hot start totaling ten points in his eight mintues of action.
Memphis began to chip away at the deficit, making a little run of their own to bring down the lead to six. Boston then responded with an Al Horford three and a nice cutting layup by AB. At the end of the half the Celtics led the Grizzles, 56-48. Gasol finished with sixteen points, while the C's had three different players in double-digits.
The key stats of the night so far have been the difference in rebounds and assists. Boston has a plus-eight advantage in both those areas, though the Griz have been to the free-throw line a lot more, leading 14-3 in that category. If the Celtics limit their turnovers and are able to create more contact on their drives, then the team should be in good shape moving forward.
Gerald Green heats up and scores 10 pts in the 2nd Q, leading the C's into halftime w/ a 56-48 lead over Memphis. IT leads Boston w/ 12 pts. pic.twitter.com/jASrO8x78h— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 28, 2016
Celtics (29th in the NBA) outrebounding Memphis (6th) 22-10 through 18 minutes.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 28, 2016
Celtics have been +10 on the glass twice in 31 games.
Boston came out of the half and built themselves a double-digit lead, Memphis then made a run of their own and cut the lead to two. With all the momentum, the Grizzles were able to somewhat silence the home crowd. Up 76-71, Bradley led the game in scoring up to this point with nineteen.
Bradley with yet another successful cut to the hoop. Grizzlies have lost him so many times.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) December 28, 2016
To finish the third quarter Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart both hit clutch three-point shots to extend the lead. Then with possibly the play of the game Amir Johnson shut down Zach Randolph in the post, forcing a jump-ball, resulting in a breakaway dunk for Bradley. This great sequence of plays brought the Garden crowd to their feet with a seven-point lead going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter began with Johnson picking up a questionable fifth foul, along with Olynyk's five personals. With a limited rotation Stevens had to go with Tyler Zeller for a crucial stretch of time.
Brad Stevens has seen enough of the Zeller experiment. Horford and Amir (five fouls) both coming back after this timeout at 8:05.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) December 28, 2016
Coming off the bench again Green continued to have his best game as a Celtic, halfway through the fourth he had scored seventeen points with a +13 plus/minus. Even with this great performance from Green, Memphis would not go away, eventually cutting the lead to a single possession.
Gerald Green does the dirty work and drops in two more points! He's up to 17 points off of the bench 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rkibbqeDhT— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 28, 2016
In the final two mintues Boston lead 106-101, thanks to amazing and-one finish from Thomas. As I.T. scored over twenty points for a 16th time this season, the real help came from the rest of the team. Both Jae Crowder and Bradley drilled corner jumpshots to increase the lead to six with a minute left, sealing the game for the Celtics.
Player of the Game: Avery Bradley (23 points/7 rebounds/4 assists)
Photo Credit: Brain Babineau
Spencer Tawes 12/27/2016 10:10:00 PM Tweet Edit