The Boston Celtics failed to extend their win streak, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, 100-93. The Celtics trailed by 14 after one quarter, and by 10 after three, but it wasn't until there was two minutes left in the game when they made their run. The C's cut the deficit to three with 14-seconds to go, but were unable to complete an extraordinary comeback. Boston now falls to 6-11 on the season.
After a competitive start, the Celtics gave up a 13-0 run, which eventually turned into a 19-point first half lead for the Grizzlies. Mike Conley shred apart the C's, getting to the paint at will. In fact, Memphis' first 20 points all came in the paint. Boston turned things around quickly, outscoring Memphis 46-42 over the course of the second and third periods. However, because of their slow start, they still trailed by 10 heading into the fourth quarter. At that point, Memphis turned up the intensity, lengthening their lead to 15-points. But thanks to Jared Sullinger's hustle and grit, the Celtics made a run with less than two minutes remaining, and cut the lead to 3. Unfortunately, Memphis hit their foul shots, holding onto their lead and the victory.
Jeff Green led the Celtics in points, with 26. He also pitched in with 7 rebounds, playing his best game this week. Forward Brandon Bass also had a nice game for himself, with 6 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Jared Sullinger was a monster late in the game, scoring 17 of his 23 total points in the fourth quarter. For Memphis, Mike Conley was the star, with 14 points and 9 assists. But the difference maker was Jerryd Bayless, who came off the bench and scored 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Signs of life
When it seemed like the Celtics would fail to make any noise in the fourth quarter, they made a heroic attempt at a comeback late in the game. With less than 2 minutes to go the Celtics trailed by 13. Led by Sullinger, the C's turned it on and went on a ferocious 16-6 run. The loyal fans that stayed until the end were given a show, though the comeback came up short. You can say what you want about this team, but there is no quit in them. Brad Stevens says that he wants his young players to learn to hate losing, and I believe losses like this are evidence that they are on the way to just that.
Who knew Mike Conley was unstoppable? The Memphis point guard shred the Celtics all night long, penetrating the paint for easy layups and assists. Out of his 14 total points, 10 came in the paint. Yes, Conley is a great point guard, but what happened in the first quarter was unforgivable. Luckily, problem seemed to be solved after the first, as the Celtics began to hedge screens with a big man. But Conley was still a force, making adjustments of his own to create shots for his teammates. That is the mark of a true point guard.
Happy Hump Day!
Kris Humphries had arguably the best game of his short career with the Boston Celtics, tallying 8 points, 6 rebounds, and one block in 16 minutes. Hump brought crucial energy at the end of the third quarter, which helped the Celtics chip away at the lead. With rookie forward Kelly Olynyk out injured, Humphries seems to be doing everything he can to make a case for playing time throughout the season.
It's about the little things
In addition to Boston's problems stopping Mike Conley, there were some other factors leading to a Memphis victory:
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If you come up short in one of those categories, never mind all four of them, there's a good chance you're going to lose the game. Even though the Celtics didn't play a terrible game (outside of the first quarter), they still didn't do the little necessary things to come close to making a comeback until it was too late.
Courtney Lee sprains his left knee
After playing only nine minutes tonight, it was announced that Courtney Lee sprained his left knee early in the fourth quarter. Lee received X-rays, which came back negative, so it appears that it will be a day-to-day injury.
The Boston Celtics will enjoy Thanksgiving at home on Thursday, before hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Friday. Then on Saturday they travel to Milwaukee for the beginning of a home-and-home series with the Bucks.