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Celtics Back Home Hoping to End Skid

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Memphis Grizzlies (16-47) at Boston Celtics (49-16)
Friday, March 13
7:30 PM
Game #66, Home Game #33
TV: CSN HD, Fox Sports Tennessee, NBA LP 755
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat

Ordinarily a visit from the 16-47 Memphis Grizzlies would be cause for Celtics' fans to expect a blow out win. But, with the Celtics badly depleted by injuries to key players, most are just hoping to eke out a win.

The Grizzlies are a young but very talented team with Rookie of the Year candidate OJ Mayo and another top 10 rookie in Marc Gasol, along with other talented young players, they could give the shorthanded Celtics some problems.

Despite their 16-47 record, the Grizzlies have upset Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans Houston twice. It is easy to overlook them, but they have players like Mayo, Gasol, and Rudy Gay who are all capable of big games if defenses against them are lax.

The Grizzlies are 29th in the NBA on offense (93.4 ppg) and 15th on defense (99.7 ppg). They also rival the Celtics in turnovers, with 15 giveaways per game. They also average just 39 rebounds. The Celtics rank 9th on offense, scoring 101.3 points per game but are second in the league in defense, allowing just 92.8 points per game. The Celtics do average almost a turnover more a game than the Grizzlies and turnovers have been a big problem for the Celtics all season. The Celtics average 5.5 more rebounds a game than their opponents which leads the league.

The Celtics need to get this win at home over this talented but young team that has won just 4 games on the road so far this season. The Grizzlies' offense that favors the half court could be just what the Celtics' defense needs to get back on the winning track.

Probably Starting Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs
Rajon Rondo vs Mike Conley

vs
Ray Allen vs OJ Mayo

vs
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay

vs
Leon Powe vs Darrell Arthur

vs
Kendrick Perkins vs Marc Gasol

Notes: Rondo has said that he is planning to play tonight. Hopefully he isn't rushing back too quickly as I would rather have a healthy Rondo for the playoffs than to have him play now.

There have also been rumors that Leon was injured in the last game but I haven't seen anything in the papers about it. Hopefully it was just a tweak and he will be able to start and play at 100% in this game. We just can't afford to lose another big at this point as we are down to 3 as it is.


Injuries
Boston CelticsTony Allen (thumb) out
Kevin Garnett (knee) out
Brian Scalabrine (head) out
Rajon Rondo (ankle) day to day
Glen Davis (ankle) day to day

Memphis Grizzlies Chris Mihm (ankle) out
Mike Wilks (ACL) out

Key Matchups
vs
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has been one of the bright spots for the Grizzlies this season and should provide a good matchup with Paul Pierce.

vs
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 to get the better of this matchup.

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.

Team Connections
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace was the Celtics GM from 1997-2007 (and made some of the worst deals in Celtics' history)
Rudy Gay and Ray Allen are former UConn Huskies
Darrell Arthur and Paul Pierce are former Kansas Jayhawks
OJ Mayo, Gabe Pruitt, and Brian Scalabrine are all former USC Trojans
OJ Mayo and Bill Walker were teammates at Huntington High School
Kendrick Perkins was drafted by the Grizzlies in the 2003 draft and then traded to the Celtics in a draft day deal.
Kendrick Perkins would have attended the University of Memphis if he didn't enter the draft directly from high school
Darius Miles played for the Celtics during the preseason
Chris Mihm played for the Celtics in the '03-04 season

Game Notes
The Grizzlies are 1-9 in their last 10 games with the Celtics going a slightly better 5-5 in spite of all of the injuries. The Celtics are 26-6 at home while the Grizzlies are 4-26 on the road. The Grizzlies are a young team with 7 of their 14 players 23 or younger at the start of the season and young players tend to struggle more on the road than veteran players. Memphis has lost 7 of their last 8 road games. They are coming off a 104-79 loss to the Timberwolves who had lost their previous 10 games. Hopefully, even as depleted as they are, the Celtics should be able to win this game. I'm looking forward to seeing more Bill Walker in this game as well.

X-Factor
Focus and the New Guys
Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore should be starting to get the Celtics' system and hopefully in a game like this one, they may finally pull it all together. We still have some pretty good players including 2 future Hall of Famers and if the Celtics focus and come to play like they want to win it, they should be able to pull it out as even with everyone still out, this game is very winnable.