Monday, February 5, 2024

Celtics 131, Grizzlies 91: Jayson Tatum scores 34 to beat depleted Memphis at home

The Celtics topped the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies 131-91 at TD Garden Sunday night.

Jayson Tatum finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, while Kristaps Porzinigis registered 26 points and eight rebounds for Boston -- who improved to 38-12.

Derrick White added 15 points on 4-of-8 from deep and Al Horford started in place of Jaylen Brown (lower back soreness) to chip in 11 points for the Celtics to snap a two-game skid at home.

After a disappointing loss to the Lakers last Thursday without LeBron James or Anthony Davis in the lineup, Boston faced a Grizzlies team that only had eight available players due to 13 being out with injuries -- including former C's guard Marcus Smart.
"I thought we did our job," head coach Joe Mazzulla said when asked about the bounce back win. "I thought the game went how it was supposed to go. I thought we played well, we executed and we came with the right mindset."
Smart, out with a finger injury, played his first nine seasons in Boston before being traded in a three-team deal over the summer for Porzingis.
"It was good to see him today," Horford said in his postgame presser. "My time here with him was very special. One of the reasons I came here originally in 2016 was Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart."
Meanwhile, Scottie Pippen Jr. led the Grizzlies with 19 points off the bench, while GG Jackson scored 18 points and David Roddy netted 14 points -- as Memphis fell to 18-32 on the season.

Boston never trailed once in this one, taking a 70-50 advantage into halftime and then a 99-76 lead into the final frame. The reserves continued to pour it on in the fourth for the home team, outscoring the Grizzlies 32-15 to put a bow on it.

With the game all but secured, the Garden faithful broke into a "Thank you, Marcus!" chant and multiple standing ovations throughout the night. A tribute video was played midway through the opening quarter and Smart was also honored with the "Hero Among Us" award for his charitable contributions in the community.
"There's nothing like playing in this place, playing in this city," Smart said during his pregame comments before visiting his old locker room. "These fans, they allowed me to grow. Boston is a second home for me."
The Celtics continue their homestand Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks (22-27), with a 7:30 pm ET tip-off.

Game Notes:

Boston connected on 48.5% from the field, including 19-of-51 (37.3%) from behind the arc, while the Grizzlies were 38% from the floor and 11-of-38 (28.9%) from 3-point range. The Celtics won the rebound battle 57-46 and outscored the visitors 56-38 when it came to points in the paint. The C's finished with 30 assists (11 turnovers) on 48 baskets and Memphis dished out 19 dimes (21 turnovers) on 35 made shots. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

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