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Celtics Conclude Road Trip in Memphis

(19-4) at (10-13)
Boston Celtics (19-4) at Memphis Grizzlies (10-13)
Monday, December 14
8:00 PM
Game #24, Road Game #13
TV: CSN HD, SSO-MEM, NBA-LP 754, 755
Fed Ex Forum

Bill Spooner l Jason Phillips l Scott Wall

Game Thread l Chat

The Grizzlies are a dangerous team with some very talented young players. They have added veteran leadership from Zach Randolph who has been a beast on the boards lately, setting several team records recently. Rudy Gay exploded for 41 against Miami in his last game and OJ Mayo is always capable of putting up big numbers.

In spite of all the talent on this team they are just 10-13. They lost 8 of their first 9 games but have gone 9-5 since, including recent home wins over Dallas and Cleveland. They are coming off an impressive 118-90 blow out win over Miami on the road last night. They have a winning record at home of 6-4 at home, however. The Celtics are a league best 11-1 on the road and are riding a 10 game win streak coming into this game.

The Grizzlies are playing in the second of back to back games but their previous game was a blow out win and with all the young legs on this team, fatigue shouldn't be much of a factor. The Celtics are coming into this game with a day's rest but are playing in the final game of a 3 game road trip and 7 of their last 8 games have come on the road. Road weariness could become a factor for the C's and they must stay focused on the task at hand.

The Celtics need to take this game very seriously because the Grizzlies aren't a pushover team any longer. Their starting 5 have been playing very well and will take advantage of any lack of focus on the Celtics part. The Grizzlies have a lot of young and athletic players who can give the Celtics problems, especially when they have been on the road for a couple of weeks. The Celtics must come out focused and take the Grizzlies out of the game from the beginning. .

Coach: Doc Rivers
Average Age: 27.9
Average Height: 6-6
Average Weight: 224

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen/Paul Pierce Pierce/Kevin Garnett/Kendrick Perkins

Coach: Lionel Hollins
Average Age: 24.7
Average Height: 6-8
Average Weight: 228

Probable Starters

Mike Conley/OJ Mayo/ Rudy Gay/Zach Randolph / Marc Gasol

Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay will be a very tough matchup for Paul Pierce. He is averaging over 20 points and 6 rebounds a game. He went off for 41 vs Miami on Sunday and Pierce will need to play very well on both ends of the court to get the best of this matchup.

Ray Allen vs OJ Mayo
Mayo has been on the national radar since high school and is a very promising young player and very athletic. Ray needs to use his veteran wiles if he hopes to keep May from going off.

Honorable Mention
Kendrick Perkins vs Marc Gasol
Gasol has been playing well and Perk needs to be physical inside to keep him from getting easy baskets. Gasol has a height advantage, but Perk has a strength advantage.

Impact Players to Watch

Celtics: Rajon Rondo The Celtics need Rondo to be aggressive and to set the tone for the game. A sluggish Rondo could spell troublr for the Green.

Grizzlies: Zach Randolph Randolph has been pulling down a lot of rebounds lately and has been a force for the Grizzlies. The Celtics need to keep him off the boards.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is the key to every game. They especially need to bring their defense against this young and talented Grizzlies team. The Celtics won't win a shoot out between these two teams and will need to concentrate on getting stops.

Focus - The Celtics need to come in focused and get off to a good start. They also have to be careful not to lose focus and finish strong as well. The Grizzlies will take advantage of any lapses on the Celtics part.

Rebound - The Celtics need to make an effort to crash the boards to prevent the Grizzlies from getting second chance points off of offensive rebounds and fast break opportunities on the defensive end. Keeping Zach Randolph off the boards will be a big key to this game and will likely fall on Perk's shoulders.

Rondo As goes Rondo, so go the Celtics. He is the engine that makes the team run. He has been aggressive in pushing the ball and also on defense and that sets the tone for the rest of the team. He needs to continue to be aggressive on both ends of the court.

Bench The Celtics should have an advantage on the second unit if they play up to their capabilities. Sheed needs to go inside as he did against the Bulls. Eddie needs to hit his shots. Shelden needs to crash the boards. And most of all, Tony needs to engage his brain.

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