Monday, November 20, 2023

Celtics 102, Grizziles 100: Kristaps Porzingis beats Memphis with game-winning dunk and block

The Celtics held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-100 Sunday at FedEx Forum to win their sixth straight.

Kristaps Porzingis' go-ahead dunk with 1:01 left to play proved to be the game-winner, as he also blocked Zaire Williams' 18-footer as time expired -- his sixth of the night -- to help Boston improve to 11-2 on the season. The veteran big man also finished with 26 points on 9-of-13 from the field and eight rebounds.

Jayson Tatum had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists but committed eight of the C's 17 turnovers. Sam Hauser added 15 points on 5-of-7 from 3-point territory and Jaylen Brown -- initially listed as questionable with a groin injury -- chipped in 12 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
"We were just undisciplined, said coach Joe Mazzulla. "We didn't execute defensively as far as our personnel and our tendencies. We got lucky to win that game."
Desmond Bane recorded a game-high 30 points and eight assists to lead the short-handed Grizzlies, who were without former Celtic Marcus Smart (foot), Steven Adams (knee), Brandon Clarke (Achilles), Derrick Rose (knee) and of course Ja Morant (league suspension).

Santi Aldama netted 28 points on 6-of-15 from behind the arc to go along with 12 rebounds and six assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr. contributed with 17 points, eight rebounds for Memphis, who dropped to a 3-10 start.

Despite the Grizzlies whacky lineup, they kept the game close all night, as there were seven ties and 18 lead changes.

Bane hit a 3-pointer (7-of-14) to cap a Memphis 11-3 run to take a 100-98 advantage with 1:48 left to play, but failed to score the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, Porzingis sank a pair of free throws, before his slam dunk on a Brown steal during the ensuing play ended up being the game-winner after three missed field goals by the Grizzlies in the final seconds -- including an Aldama 3-point attempt and a Zaire Williams offensive board and blocked shot by Porzingis to secure the win.
"We just played our game," Porzingis said in his postgame presser. "I tried to take advantage of some of the mismatches. It was just one of those games that kind of happened naturally."
The Celtics -- racked up 10 blocks against the Grizzlies -- will wrap up their four-game road trip in Charlotte on a second night of a back-to-back Monday when they face the Hornets (3-9).

Game Notes:

Boston hit 45.5% from the field, including 12-of-31 (38.7%) from deep, while the Grizzlies were held to 38.9% from the floor and 17-of-44 from 3-point range. The Celtics out-rebounded Memphis 45-42 and outscored them in the paint 42-32. The C's dished out 20 assists on 35 baskets and the home team had 28 dimes (11 turnovers) on 37 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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