Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Celtics 113 - Grizzlies 103: C's beat Memphis, sweep season series

It was another team effort for the Celtics on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. Boston's 113-103 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies gave them their sixth win in the last seven games.

Avery Bradley led six Celtics players scoring in double-digits with 23 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Isaiah Thomas added 21 points and 7 assists, Gerald Green chipped in with 19 points (3-of-5 from behind the arc) and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

Jae Crowder finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds while Marcus Smart contributed with 13 points and 6 assists for the Celtics second straight win.

Marc Gasol was the game's leading scorer with 26 points, also dished out 9 assists for Memphis, who were playing without Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons. Old friend, Tony Allen finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Zach Randolph chipped in a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Grizzlies' second straight loss, they now have a record of 20-14.

Despite Memphis playing on a second night of a back-to-back, they came out strong defensively, forcing 7 Celtics turnover in the first quarter, but Boston would jump out to a 13-point lead in the second period.

By halftime the Celtics only led 56-48 and with 5:13 left in the third, Memphis cut the C's margin to two (69-67) on a Tony Allen lay-up.

Boston never surrender their lead, still up 84-77 going into the final frame before Zach Randolph scored the Grizzlies' first six points of the fourth, both he and Marc Gasol continued to take advantage of Al Horford being on the bench for half the quarter with 5 fouls while Memphis cut the Celtics deficit to three (100-97) with five minutes left to play.

After a Jae Crowder corner long two and Gerald Green hit a pair of free-throws, Isaiah Thomas would convert a three-point play to put Memphis away for the second time in seven days except on Tuesday, the C's wouldn't need overtime.

Green provided yet another spark for the Celtics, picking up where he left off at Madison Square Garden, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter.
"He just brought more intensity," said Marcus Smart of Green. "You could definetly tell that the intensity changed when he stepped on the floor."  
Even though Boston committed 18 turnovers (seven in the fourth), they improve to 7-6 at home and a 19-13 overall record after once again beating the NBA's best defensive team. Memphis is now 8-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season.

The Celtics will travel to Cleveland next to take on the champion Cavaliers (23-7) on Thursday night.

Tip-off from the Quicken Loans Arena will be at 8 PM ET on TNT.

Game Notes:

Isaiah Thomas has scored 20 or more points in 16 consecutive games, the longest current streak of 20-plus point in the NBA. The Celtics were aggressive on the boards, out-rebounding the Grizzlies 47-37. Amir Johnson led the C's with a season-high 10 rebounds on the night.

Joel Pavón

Photo used is courtesy of Associated Press

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