at Memphis Grizzlies (19-9) at Boston Celtics (14-16)
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #31, Home Game #15
TV: NBA-TV, CSN-NE, SSO-MEM, NBAC
Radio: WEEI, WMFS
TD Garden Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Conley Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Tony Allen
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Zach Randolph
Jason Collins vs Marc Gasol Celtics Reserves
Jason Terry Injuries
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Chris Wilcox (thumb) out
Rajon Rondo (hip/thigh) questionableRed Claws
Fab MeloGrizzlies Reserves
Quincy Pondexter (MCL) outTeam Connections
Tony Allen played for the Celtics from 2004-10 and was a member of the 2008 NBA Championship team
Darrell Arthur, Josh Selby and Paul Pierce attended the University of Kansas
Jason Collins played for the Grizzlies during the 2007-08 season
Jared Sullinger and Mike Conley both attended Ohio State
Chris Wilcox and Zach Randolph both played for New York during the 2008-09 season
Leandro Barbosa and Jerryd Bayless were teammates in Toronto from 2010-12.Game Notes
The Celtics welcome old friend Tony Allen and his Grizzlies to the Garden as they try to get back on track after a 1-3 road trip. The Celtics have lost 3 in a row to Western Conference teams and return home hoping to turn that trend around. The Celtics have played well at home with a 9-5 record while the Grizzlies are just 6-6 on the road.
The big news for the Celtics is that Avery Bradley is expected to make
his season debut in this game. Doc has said that if he is ready, he would start him and I'm optimistically putting him in the starting lineup. That allows Jason Terry to come off the bench where he is more comfortable.
The Celtics are still trying to find their identity and after 3 terrible losses on the West coast they face a Grizzlies team that is also searching for answers. Both teams have lost 3 of their last 4 games. The Memphis Grizzlies have turned in three straight efforts of fewer than 90 points for the first time this season. Both teams have been very inconsistent and so it's anyone's guess how this one will turn out.
Rajon Rondo sat out practice on Tuesday and is questionable for this game and will more than likely be a game time decision. The Celtics should get a boost from Bradley's return and hopefully his on the ball defense will help the Celtics sagging team defense. The Celtics are 2 games under .500 and are just half a game ahead of the Sixers for the 8th seed in the East. They need to find answers and turn their season around soon. Hopefully it will be in this game. Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Zach Randolph
Jason Collins vs Marc Gasol
The matchup between the Celtics bigs and the Grizzlies bigs will be key in determining the winner. The Grizzlies are strong where the Celtics are weakest and that is in the middle. I expect KG to cover Gasol and Collins to cover Randolph because he is so physical that he'd be a tough cover for KG.
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Conley
Rondo is listed as questionable with the hip/thigh bruise that he suffered in the Clippers game. Hopefully he will be able to go. Conley is a good PG and is averaging 2.44 steals a game and could give the Celtics problems, especially if Rondo can't go. `
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay
Gay is a very good young player and Pierce will need to play him aggressively on the defensive end as well as make him work by being aggressive on the offensive end. Keys to the Game Defense
- The team that works hardest on defense will be the team that wins. The Grizzlies are a good defensive team and will limit the Celtics' easy looks. The Celtics will need to match their defensive intensity if they want to win this game. In the Celtics wins they are holding teams to 89 points per game. In their losses, they are allowing 101 points per game. When they bring their defensive intensity they win and when they don't they lose. It's that simple. Rebound
- Rebounding is very important in limiting fast break points and second chance points for Memphis. The Grizzlies are very good at getting second chance points off of offensive rebounds and putbacks with Randoph and Gasol playing inside. The Celtics must be aggressive in crashing the boards. The team that wins the battle of the boards usually wins the game. Take Care of the Ball
- The Grizzlies are among the best in the league in forced turnovers and steals and they are also very good at scoring off those turnovers. The Celtics must take care of the ball and avoid careless passes and lapses in focus or the Grizzlies will make them pay. Rondo must especially concentrate on his passes and ball handling as Conley averages 2.4 steals a game. Be Aggressive for 48 Minutes
- When the Celtics are passive and settle for jumpers and don't swarm on defense they end up in trouble.
The Celtics need to come out strong and play aggressively until the final buzzer. They can't allow the Grizzlies to build a lead because their defense will make it difficult to come back. X-Factors
Rondo and Avery
Avery Bradley's return should give the team a boost, but if Rondo can't go, it could cancel out any benefits they get from Bradley's presence. Hopefully both are ready to go and will play well.