at Boston Celtics (36-32) at Memphis Grizzlies (46-22)
Saturday, March 23, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #69, Road Game #35
TV: CSN-NE, SSO-MEM, NBA LP 755(BOS)/756(MEM)
Radio: WEEI, WMFS
Fed Ex Forum Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Avery Bradley vs Mike Conley Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee vs Tony Allen
Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Zach Randolph
Kevin Garnett vs Marc Gasol Celtics Reserves
Terrence Williams Injuries
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Courtney Lee (ankle) questionableRed Claws
Fab MeloGrizzlies Reserves
Darrell Arthur (back) day to dayTeam 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
Jared Sullinger and Mike Conley both attended Ohio State
Chris Wilcox and Zach Randolph both played for New York during the 2008-09 seasonGame Notes
The Celtics look to close out their road trip against a Grizzlies team that is playing very well. Memphis is 12-3 since the All Star break with all 3 losses coming on the road. They have also won 16 of 21 since the trade that brought Tayshaun Prince to Memphis for Rudy Gay. The Grizzlies beat the Celtics 93-83 in January at the Garden.
That was before the Grizzlies' big trade and it was also Avery Bradley's first game back from his shoulder injury. The Celtics also had both Rondo and Sully and so both teams are considerably different since their first meeting. Both teams are also in the heat of the playoff race.
The Celtics are still in 7th half a game behind Chicago in 6th and 1.5 behind Atlanta in 5th. They are also staying 2 games in front of Milwaukee for the 8th spot and a 1st round matchup with the Heat. The Grizzlies are in 5th in the West just half a game behind the Clippers in 4th and 1 game behind Denver in 3rd.
The Celtics have dropped to 5-5 in their last 10 while the Grizzlies are 7-3 in their last 10. The Celtics are a terrible 12-22 on the road while the Grizzlies are a tough 27-8 at home. Both teams are coming off a loss on the road and both had to travel overnight, so neither has an advantage in that area. The Grizzlies had won 2 in a row before dropping their last game to the Hornets. The Celtics have lost 3 in a row and really need to get a win to keep this road trip from being a total disaster.
Courtney Lee went down with an ankle injury in the Mavs game and his status isn't known for this game. I'm leaving him in the starting lineup for now since I don't have a clue whether he will play and if he doesn't play, I don't know who Doc would start, possibly JET or Terrence Williams. But it's late and I don't want to have to deal with that now, so Courtney Lee it is. Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Marc Gasol
Brandon Bass vs Zach Randolph
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 Bass to cover Randolph because he is so physical that he'd be a tough cover for KG.
Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
Prince is long and has always posed problems for Paul Pierce on both ends of the court. Jeff Green would match up better with him and I expect to see that matchup for at least parts of the game. 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. They lead the league in points allowed at 89.2 points per game. The Celtics will need to match their defensive intensity if they want to win this game as they won't win in a shoot out. The Grizzlies are undefeated (20-0) when scoring 100 points in a game. They are also just 2-6 when allowing their opponents to score 100 points. The Celtics' defense against the Mavs was terrible for the most part. They struggled to cover the pick and roll and allowed the Mavs to score 104 points. Not only will they lose this game if they continue to play defense that poorly, they will also be a very quick first round out in the playoffs. The Celtics must bring their A-game on defense if they hope to get a win in this game. 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. The Celtics have been outrebounded by large margins in their last 2 games. They must do better. 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 tend to get sloppy and turn the ball over at times and they must take care of the ball and avoid careless passes and lapses in focus or the Grizzlies will make them pay. 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. They also must be aggressive in going to the basket and not just shoot jumpers. X-Factors
Fatigue and Focus
Both teams are playing in back to back games and both teams had to travel after their games. Bench play will be crucial in order for the starters to have enough energy to close out the game. The Celtics tend to lose focus on the road and they have to find a way to keep their focus on defense and winning from start to finish.