clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Celtics Roll into Memphis on a Roll


Boston Celtics (52-18) at Memphis Grizzlies (17-51)
Saturday, March 21
8:00 PM
Game #71, Road Game #37
Fed Ex Forum

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics welcomed both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen back into the starting lineup last night and got a much needed confidence booster as they pulled out a close win vs the San Antonio Spurs. Tonight they face the 17-51 Grizzlies who aren't quite as intimidating as the Spurs, but could be dangerous if the Celtics take them for granted. The Celtics need every win to stay in front of the Magic for second place and so need to take this game very seriously.

Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games. Memphis comes in from a loss in New Orleans and Boston comes in off a win in San Antonio. With the Grizzlies sporting 3 rookies, a 2nd year player and a 3rd year player in their starting lineup, it seems as though this would favor the young Grizzlies over the older and banged up Celtics.

The Grizzlies are 12-23 at home while the Celtics are 24-12 on the road. The Grizzlies are just 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Grizzlies have lost 3 in a row while the Celtics are on a 2 game win streak.

In the first meeting between these two teams Leon Powe had a career game with a career high 30 points and 5 blocks to go with his 11 rebounds. With Powe out, the Celtics will need someone else to step up in this game.

Both KG and Ray returned to the starting lineup against the Spurs. Doc said that he would be watching for any stiffness or soreness from either to decide whether or not to play them in this game. Rondo came up limping at one point in the Spurs game so it is evident that the ankle is still bothering him.

Probable Starters

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

Tony Allen (thumb) out
Kevin Garnett (knee) probable
Brian Scalabrine (head) out
Leon Powe (knee) out
Rajon Rondo (ankle) probable
Ray Allen (elbow) probable

Probable Starters

Mike Conley/ OJ Mayo/ Rudy Gay/ Darrell Arthur/ Marc Gasol

Chris Mihm (ankle) out
Mike Wilks (ACL) out
Darko Milicic (back) game time decision
Greg Buckner (knee) game time decision

Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has been one of the bright spots for the Grizzlies this season. Paul Pierce has been carrying the Celtics in the absence of his injured teammates. This should be a tough matchup for both teams.

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

Take Nothing for Granted
The Celtics beat the Grizzlies in their first meeting even though their roster was depleted by injuries. The Celtics can't take this team for granted even through they have 1 less win than the Celtics have losses. The Grizzlies are a young, athletic and hungry team and could surprise the Celtics if they overlook them.